FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2016
Arlington, VA – The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, today named former Smithsonian educator Sage Morgan-Hubbard as the Ford W. Bell Fellow for Museums & P-12 Education. Effective August 1, Morgan-Hubbard will lead AAM’s work to build the next era of learning—one in which museums play a starring role—by spending two years working with museums, educators, schools, futurists and learners to:
- spread the word — compiling and sharing information needed to guide planning and decision making by museums, educators, and learners
- disrupt conventional dialogue — promoting ideas that disrupt conventional thinking about education and expanding our conception of the educational landscape
- create systemic change — instigating innovative experiments that could increase the role museums play in education
“Museums spend more than $2 billion a year on education and the typical museum devotes 75 percent of its education budget specifically to P-12 students,” said Laura Lott, AAM president and CEO. “Our national education system is in peril, but many museums are leading the way to reform and taking action to provide opportunities. Education is a focus area of the AAM 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. With Sage’s energy, creativity and proclivity to act, we will explore new disruptive ideas for our members.”
Morgan-Hubbard is a multidisciplinary museum educator and artist, with more than a decade’s experience designing and delivering programs and events for youth that include art, dance, music, and the spoken word. She was most recently the Youth Programs Coordinator at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian, and before that she served as the Academic Partnership Coordinator at Columbia College in Chicago.
“I want museums to be seen as year-round education partners and an integral part of the lesson planning process and curriculum, not as supplementary or an afterthought,” said Morgan-Hubbard. “A lot of teachers see museums as a great destination for end-of-year field trips, an additional activity they can do after their lesson plan has been completed. They don’t view museums as real partners or places where real innovation is happening in education.”
Morgan-Hubbard added that she’s always been interested in and dedicated to education, especially informal education. “I’ve been working with young people since I was 18, when I started teaching teens who were only slightly younger than me,” she said. “This was the first time I’ve seen a job description that was actually seeking people with a nontraditional education background. And I won’t lie, having the word ‘futurist’ as part of my job description is pretty exciting.”
To recruit and hire the Bell Education Fellow, AAM used an “unbiased hiring” process that they are advocating for museums. Implementing emerging practices, AAM:
- Used textual analysis algorithms to create a position description and job posting that fostered gender balance in the applicant pool
- Structured the application process around challenges that gave candidates the opportunity to demonstrate relevant skills
- Designed interviews in accordance with emerging best practices on how search committees should ask questions and evaluate candidates’ answers
Read more about the hiring process, and what the Alliance learned from it, in a blog article by the hiring manager, Elizabeth Merritt, Founding Director of CFM.
About the Bell Education Fellowship
The fellowship, supported by many generous gifts from Alliance donors, is named in honor of Dr. Ford W. Bell, president of the Alliance from 2007-2015. During that time, Bell launched the Center for the Future of Museums to help the field navigate the shifting tides of the 21st century and create a better future for their communities. A key forecast during the Center’s first few years said US museums have the opportunity to change the world by improving the learning landscape for America’s children.
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 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance is the only organization representing the entire scope of the broad museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.