Recorded Session: Museum Salaries: Turning Talk into Action

Recorded On: 09/30/2020

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Session Description

Museum Salaries: Turning Talk into Action is a recorded session of the 2020 AASLH Online Annual Meeting.

The museum profession suffers from systemic under-compensation and pay inequality. The session will identify multiple strategies to effect change and influence institutional policy and priorities, unionization, initiatives to improve salary transparency, the role of professional associations, and the effect of social media, including the Art + Museum Transparency spreadsheet.


RECORDED DATE: September 30, 2020

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.


Chair: Scott Wands Connecticut Humanities, Middletown, CT
Scott Wands is the Manager of Grants and Programs at Connecticut Humanities where he oversees the $850,000+ Connecticut Humanities Fund granting program and delivers non-grant-funded services to Connecticut’s cultural community. He is co-creator of StEPs-CT, an integrated program of training, mentoring, and grant funding that, since 2012, has helped forty-seven Connecticut cultural organizations build professionalism and remain vibrant community resources. Scott currently serves as a board member for the American Association for State and Local History (Nashville, TN), the Connecticut Coalition for History, and the Eastern States Exposition (West Springfield, MA).

Mark Gold Smith, Green, & Gold, LLP, Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Mark Gold is a partner in the law firm of Smith, Green, & Gold, LLP, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics and International Studies from The American University, a law degree from Georgetown University, and a Master's in Museum Studies from Harvard University. His practice includes business, nonprofit and museum law. Mark has written extensively and participated in panels on deaccessioning, legal issues for museums, governance, and museum compensation. Most recently, he co-edited For Love or Money: Confronting the State of Museum Salaries for MuseumsEtc,which contains an essay co-authored by him titled “Making Salaries a Priority for Museum Boards." Will give an overview of various strategies to effect change and focus on changing institutional policies and priorities at the board level.

Michelle Epps Art Therapy Studio, Cleveland, OH
Michelle Epps is the Immediate Past President for the National Emerging Museum Professionals Network. She has a Masters in History with a Specialization in Museum Studies from Cleveland State University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Business Management from Case Western Reserve University. Michelle serves on the advisory committees for both Kent State University's MuseLab and the Education and Museum Outreach Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Art Therapy Studio. She will discuss the role of professional associations as advocates for change and, particularly, the initiative of NEMPN to address salary cloaking.

Dana Kopel OPEIU Local 153, New York, NY
Dana Kopel is a writer and the former senior editor and publications coordinator at the New Museum, where she helped organize the New Museum Union-UAW Local 2110. Her writing appears in Art in America, Frieze, SSENSE, Flash Art, Mousse, X-TRA, and several exhibition catalogues. She holds an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. She lives in New York, where she works as a union organizer with OPEIU Local 153.

Anonymous Speaker Art + Museum Transparency
A U.S.-based museum professional for over 10 years and one of the anonymous members of the collective Art + Museum Transparency (AMT). AMT is a grassroots all-volunteer group of workers in museums and arts organizations who collaborate to educate, advocate, and agitate for structural transformation in the US cultural sector. Initially created to promote salary transparency through crowdsourced online spreadsheets, Art + Museum Transparency is committed to equity issues broadly and has also organized to end unpaid internships and advance unionization through campaigns on social media, op-eds in national publications, and outreach to press and other workers.

Recording Transcript

A transcript is provided with the recording.

Components visible upon registration.

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