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Diverse Lineup of Speakers to Bring Equity and Inclusion Message to Museum Pro’s in St. Louis

Category: Press Release


April 4, 2017

ARLINGTON, VASeveral renowned leaders in the fight for social justice, inclusion and accessibility have been named as featured speakers at American Alliance of Museums (AAM) 2017 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, to be held in St. Louis May 7-10.  The latest confirmed speakers join previously announced speaker Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative to underscore the meeting’s theme, “Gateways to Understanding: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion in Museums.”

“We will need the best ideas from inside and outside the museum field to truly deliver on the Alliance’s strategic focus on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of museum structure and programming,” said Alliance President and CEO Laura Lott. “To that end, I’m proud to convene this outstanding group of featured speakers in St. Louis who can prompt new ideas for museum professionals from across the country and around the world.”

Melissa Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University. There she is the Executive Director of the Pro Humanitate Institute and founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center. Melissa is Editor-at-Large at She hosted the award winning television show “Melissa Harris-Perry” from 2012-2016 on weekend mornings on MSNBC.

Haben Girma has earned recognition as a White House Champion of Change, Forbes 30 under 30, and BBC Women of Africa Hero. The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, she advocates for equal access to information for people with disabilities.

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Vincent Valdez is a painter and draftsman recognized for his monumental portrayal of the contemporary human figure.

In addition to these featured speakers, hundreds of leaders from within and beyond the museum field will share insights at more than 200 sessions on topics ranging from collections management and curatorial practice, to education and audience research; from exhibit planning and design to marketing and community engagement. The session topics were crowdsourced from the museum field and then chosen by AAM’s National Program Committee of 35 experts from across museum disciplines.

The largest gathering of museum professionals in the world, the Annual Meeting attracts leaders and decisionmakers from a wide range of cultural institutions that include art, history, and science museums; military and maritime museums; children’s museums; aquariums, zoos, arboretums, and botanical gardens; and historic homes and sites.

The 2017 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is made possible with generous support from Blackbaud, the Getty FoundationGEICOGES EventsHuntington T. BlockImagine ExhibitionsNorthern TrustPGAV Destinations and Travelers Insurance.

More details are available at, and you can follow the event on Facebook ( and Twitter at #AAM2017.

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Joseph Klem
Director, Public Relations
American Alliance of Museums

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