What is a Museum? An Exploration in Six Parts
TUESDAY, March 16, 2021
12pm EST

Reference Guide for Presentation

ICOM-US Members can view the recording here.   

Museums have a shared commitment, responsibility and authority in relationship to their communities. Museums are places of learning and exploration, key institutions for influence and dissemination of public scholarship. How can museums best portray the identity and memory of their communities? How can museums not only chronicle the past, but depict the present and become touchstones for the future of their communities?

Kelly McKinley, CEO, Bay Area Discovery Museum
Lauran Bonilla-Merchav, Chair, ICOM Costa Rica and Interim Professor, University of Costa Rica
Lisa Sasaki, Director, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

Rick West, President and CEO, Autry Museum of the American West, ICOM-US Board Member
Diana Pardue, Director, Museum Services Division, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Immigration Museum, ICOM-US Ex-Officio Board Member and Chair of International Committee for Disaster Resilient Museums Committee (DRMC)


Kelly McKinley
Kelly is the CEO of the Bay Area Discovery Museum. She was most recently the Deputy Director of the Oakland Museum of California where she oversaw collections, conservation, curatorial, interpretation, exhibition design and production, and evaluation and visitor research. Prior to OMCA, she served as Executive Director of Education and Public Programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada. She serves on the board of the American Alliance of Museums and the editorial board of Curator: The Museum Journal.

Lauran Bonilla-Merchav
Doctor of art history, with national and international experience, Lauran is a lecturer, researcher, curator and consultant of art, culture, museums and heritage. Currently she is adjunct professor of Art History in the School of Plastic Arts at the University of Costa Rica. She also teaches humanities and cultural tourism courses at the National University of Costa Rica. She has published on modern and contemporary Costa Rican art, as well as on topics of museology. Currently, she is treasurer of the Costa Rican Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM Costa Rica, having served as chair from 2013-2019), as well as treasurer of the Regional Alliance of ICOM LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean). She currently co-chairs the ICOM Standing Committee for the Museum Definition, which is undertaking a participatory process of consultation to reach a proposal for the new museum definition in 2022. 

Lisa Sasaki
Lisa Sasaki is the Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC), which brings Asian Pacific American history, art and culture to communities through innovative museum experiences online and across the U.S. Previously she was Director of the Audience & Civic Engagement Center at the Oakland Museum of California and Director of Program Development at the Japanese American National Museum. Sasaki has also served as President of the Western Museums Association’s Board of Directors, as a member of the AAM’s Facing Change working group, and as an advisor on the Advisory Council for the Council of Jewish American Museums.