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American Alliance of Museums Empanels Education Task Force

Category: Press Release
Head shot photos of EdCom task force members
Members of the EdCom task force to study a potential new core document for education.


Arlington, VA – The American Alliance of Museums, the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, has empaneled a task force to examine whether educational philosophies should be articulated as one of the  core documents that museums maintain to ensure professional operations. Current core documents include mission statement, institutional code of ethics, strategic institutional plan, disaster preparedness and emergency response plan, and collections management policy.

Led by the Alliance’s Education Professional Network (EdCom), the Task Force will test whether there is a general field-wide agreement in support of all museums having a core document that clearly states their educational philosophies and principles and/or guides their decisions about the development and delivery of their educational role; and, if so, what the common elements of such a guiding document are.

If there is not agreement, the Task Force will suggest resources in other forms to help museums in this area.

“EdCom has long believed in the essential education mission of museums,” said Tony Pennay, chair of the Task Force and Chief Learning Officer at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. “With AAM’s strategic plan emphasizing the role of museums in the broader P-12 Education landscape, and its 2018 Annual Meeting gathered around an educational theme, we felt the timing was right to forge a Task Force and explore the possibility of an education core document. We could not be more excited to get started.”

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Between Fall 2018 and Spring 2020 the Task Force will:

  • Conduct a field-wide survey and literature review to identify the types of documents, other guidance, and the terminology being used by the field
  • Determine if the results of the survey, the literature review, and examples of documents indicate a general field-wide agreement on a guiding education document
  • If there is general field-wide agreement on the need for and content of an education document that all museums should have, create a proposal for AAM leadership that provides clarity on generally accepted field-wide exemplary practices; defines education, learning, interpretation and engagement; and identifies the required elements for an education-related Core Document
  • Circulate the document across the field for comments; revise as needed
  • Make final recommendations with regard to a new potential education-related Core Document or other resources to advance excellence in the field

The composition of the Task Force was designed to ensure that the perspectives of a wide range of museums of all types and sizes, as well as those of a diversity of museum professionals, are represented:

  • Tony Pennay (Chair)
    Chief Learning Officer
    The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
  • Megan Wood (Vice Chair)
    Director, Museum and Library Services
    Ohio History Connection
  • Veronica Alvarez 
    Director of School & Teacher Programs
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Cassie Byrd
    Chief Learning Officer
    Michigan Science Center
  • LaNesha DeBardelaben  
    Executive Director
    Northwest African American Museum
  • Lori Beth Finkelstein 
    VP Education, Interpretation & Volunteer Programs
    The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
  • Ann Fortescue
    Executive Director
    Springfield Museum of Art
  • James S. Hakala 
    Senior Educator
    University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
  • Rebecca Shulman Herz 
    Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum
  • Leah Melber
    Director of Education, Catalina Island Conservancy
  • Nicole Moore
    Manager of Education and Museum Content
    National Center for Civil and Human Rights
  • Melissa Prycer
    President & Executive Director
    Dallas Heritage Village
  • Jaclyn Roessel
    Grownup Navajo
  • Carol Stapp 
    Director, Museum Education Program
    The George Washington University
  • Marley Steele-Inama
    Director of Audience Research and Evaluation
    Denver Zoo
  • Madelaine Zadik
    Former Manager of Education & Outreach
    Botanic Garden of Smith College

Learn more about the Task Force and follow its activities on the Alliance website.


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


Press Contact:

Joseph Klem

Director of Marketing & Communications

American Alliance of Museums

Phone: 202-218-7670

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