Recorded Session: Initiating Change: Museums, Community, and the Legacy of George Floyd

Recorded On: 10/15/2021

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Session Description

Initiating Change: Museums, Community, and the Legacy of George Floyd is a Recorded Live Session of the 2021 AASLH Online Conference.

The murder of George Floyd in 2020 spurred museums to fufill their roles as forums for civic discourse and trusted truth tellers. In this session museum staff and community activists share their experiences partnering on exhibitions and collecting initiatives that promote empathy, inclusive dialogue, and the healing of historical conflict.


Chair: Adam Scher Vice President, Collections and Exhibitions at Virginia Museum of History & Culture
As VP for Collections and Exhibitions, Adam Scher contributes to VMHC’s strategy for community engagement and social impact through the oversight of exhibition and core gallery programming, and collections. Adam manages teams responsible for exhibition development and production, and collections development, care, research, documentation, and access. As a member of the Executive Team, he also contributes to the development of policies and programs that support VMHC’s mission, vision, and values.

Carin Adams Curator of Art at Oakland Museum of California
Carin Adams is the Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA). She led the 2016 exhibition Yo–Yos & Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts, which featured the work of Rosie Lee Tompkins alongside other San Francisco Bay Area quilters from the Eli Leon Collection. More recent projects include the special exhibition J.B. Blunk: Nature, Art & Everyday Life, and the re-installation of Mildred Howard’s immersive artwork Tap: Investigation of Memory. Carin's upcoming exhibition Hella Feminist is set to open in 2021.

Mizan Alkebulan-Abakah Co-Creator, Spearitwurx at Spearitwurx/Black Cultural Zone
Mizan Alkebulan-Abakah has worked for over twenty years as a community organizer and youth development professional. She is the co-creator of Spearitwurx, an Oakland-based organization that promotes intergenerational wellness and racial healing and curates cultural events, conferences, workshops & professional development opportunities.

Charles Bethea Andrew W. Mellon Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at Chicago History Museum
Charles Bethea is responsible for overseeing all curatorial activities, provides an overall curatorial vision and direction, and prioritizes all work in the department of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Chicago History Museum (CHM). In addition, he provides direction for the Museum’s collecting agenda including new acquisitions and deaccessions and the development of new exhibitions.

Jowarnise Caston Artist at Mending Walls RVA
Jowarnise Caston is a participating artist of Mending Walls RVA, a public art project aimed at bringing together public artists from different cultures and backgrounds to create murals that address where we are now in society and how we can move forward through understanding and collaboration. In 2020 the Virginia Museum of History & Culture hosted an exhibition featuring paintings by artists participating in Mending Walls. Inspired by their motto, “We Need to Talk…,” this artwork, combined with the stories of Virginia's past told throughout the museum, offered an opportunity to begin understanding how we arrived at the present and start conversations about our future.


RECORDED DATE: October 15, 2021

COST: $5 AASLH Members / $10 Nonmembers / Free for Full Access Annual Meeting attendees w/ Promo Code (email

ACCESS: You will be provided with instructions on how to access the recording upon registration.

Recording Transcript

A transcript is provided with the recording.

Components visible upon registration.

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