Category Archives: Press Releases

Updates from the NEMPN Board of Directors

NEMPN Statement in Response to the Director of Newfields Job Posting

NEMPN objects to the language used in the position description for the Director of Newfields and stands in solidarity with the current and former staff in their peaceful, open letter to the leadership of their museum and community. 

In seeking a director who would maintain the institution’s “traditional, core white art audience” this posting is yet another example of a museum administration applying the language of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) without committing to the actions and transformative changes required to address racism and white supremacy. By then editing the description amid public outcry to only eliminate the word “white,” Newfields has made it abundantly clear that they are no more committed to the work of DEAI now than when they created the original job posting. It is one of NEMPN’s core beliefs that museums are spaces for all and should strive to represent the many diverse cultures and histories that encompass our globe. This belief can be at odds with, as the description put it, the “traditional, core art audience,” but museum professionals should know that building a diverse and inclusive museum, internally and externally, involves facilitating actual change.

This position description, as well as previous incidents at the museum, point to a toxic, hostile work culture. We are especially concerned for the members of our EMP community working at Newfields. We are here to support in any way that we can. We understand that institutions sometimes find themselves questioning how they can do better. To that point, we lend our full support to the current and former staff of Newfields, as well as allies in the field at-large, in signing their petition calling for accountability from the Board of Trustees, Funders, and City of Indianapolis. In this petition, they have provided actionable steps which will move Newfields in the right direction and ultimately improve their museum and our field at large.

UPDATE: As of February 17, 2021, Charles L. Venable has stepped down as President of Newfields following the circulation of the petition with signatures from thousands of professionals. His resignation and the Newfields statement is the first step toward this institution’s pledge to do better. NEMPN wants the institution, its Board of Trustees, and its Board of Governors to be held accountable in its pledge. We supports the rest of the petition’s demands being met.

About NEMPN

The National Emerging Museum Professionals Network envisions communities in which museum professionals make meaningful connections within and across backgrounds, disciplines, and institutions by providing leadership, responding to changing needs, enriching experiences, growing capabilities, and sharing resources. NEMPN is a registered 501(c)3. For more information: nationalempnetwork.org

NEMPN Statement in Response to Storming of the U.S. Capitol Building

(January 6, 2021) – NEMPN shares the incredible stress, anxiety, and sadness of our community as current events unfold in Washington, D.C. today. We are deeply concerned for the safety and well being of all EMPs. We are especially concerned for the members of our EMP community working in the U.S. Capitol who have been stewards for this historic building and landmark, its invaluable collection, and its role in civic life, all of which is being vandalized and disrespected. Our hearts and minds are with them at this moment, and we are here to support in any way that we can.

NEMPN understands that this egregious, shocking, and deeply disturbing affront to democracy is a historical moment. As museum professionals, many of us will be working to collect, preserve, and interpret this moment in our country’s history and those that will follow. We hope that EMPs are prioritizing self-care and self-preservation in this time as we look ahead to an uncertain future. 

EMP chapters have also issued individual statements, linked to below:

D.C. Emerging Museum Professionals

About NEMPN

The National Emerging Museum Professionals Network envisions communities in which museum professionals make meaningful connections within and across backgrounds, disciplines, and institutions by providing leadership, responding to changing needs, enriching experiences, growing capabilities, and sharing resources. NEMPN is a registered 501(c)3. For more information: nationalempnetwork.org

Join a NEMPN Committee

We are looking for volunteers to serve on NEMPN committees! These committees, along with the NEMPN Board, are essential to making the National Emerging Museum Professional Network an incredible support network for EMPs across the world.

Please review the descriptions for the committees below: you may apply to one committee of interest. Each committee will have a different time commitment depending on the project being taken on and agreed upon collectively by the committee. We are looking at approximately 5-7 hours a month but it could be more or less! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sierra Polisar and Sierra Van Ryck deGroot, Co-Presidents, at president@nationalempnetwork.org.

Apply for a committee via this Google Form. We currently have five committees looking for members:

Advocacy Committee: Hey EMPs- Feeling overworked? Under-resourced? Undervalued? The NEMPN Advocacy Committee is here to help. This year the Advocacy Committee will be working on three worthy tasks: eliminating unpaid internships, crafting NEMPN’s mission/vision/values page, and supporting EMP Self-Care needs. Together we can change museum culture, but we need your help. Those who advocate must collaborate, and we need your creativity, determination, and pure awesomeness to get our projects off the ground. Join our Advocacy Committee and help us change the industry, one project at a time.

Communications Committee: NEMPN is renovating its communications strategy for 2021: we want our web presence to be as creative, resourceful, and exciting as the EMPs we support! In the new year, we’re re-launching our newsletter, redesigning our website, and growing our social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram to make sure we provide updates, resources, and events for museum professionals nationwide. The NEMPN Communications Committee is looking for writers, graphic designers, social media savvy people, and anybody else who’s interested in promoting the amazing work of EMPs and their chapters across our network. Join us and let’s get started!

Finance and Fundraising Committee: The Board of Directors of the National Emerging Museum Professionals Network (NEMPN) has big goals this year to better serve and impact our community! Sick of only finding unpaid internship work? Tired of feeling like you don’t have the resources to advocate for yourself in the museum world? We are seeking Finance Committee members to help create and carry out a Fund Development Plan for the 2020-2021 year. We hope to use this plan to get advocacy initiatives off the ground, and provide more value overall to NEMPN. NEMPN is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Apply today to be a part of this Fundraising Committee!

Community Committee: We’re so excited to be starting a new chapter in the book that is NEMPN, part of which includes the formation of a Community Committee. We’re looking for EMPs in all locations to join the Community Committee to help with the following: Assessing what parts of our EMP network need support and how we can help provide it (Recruiting new members? Activating social media networks? Brainstorming ways to do fundraising? We can help with all this and more!) Bringing our community together with town halls, workshops, and other means of meeting and learning from one another. Defining and working toward EMP goals for the future, both generally and regionally [Infomercial voice] All this AND MORE!

Theory and Practice Committee: NEMPN is proud to partner with The Museum Scholar to publish Theory and Practice, a peer-reviewed journal for emerging museum professionals. Theory and Practice gives all museum professionals a platform to share their research and writings on a broad range of topics relating to museums, libraries and archives. There is no fee to publish, and all articles are free to read. This fantastic resource relies on us, the NEMPN community, to provide the back-end support that makes this journal possible. Please consider volunteering for the NEMPN Theory and Practice Committee. We are looking for a team of peer-reviewers and marketing wizards to help get this project moving.

Theory and Practice Call for Papers, Spring 2021

We would like to announce the Call for Papers for Theory and Practice: The Emerging Museum Professionals Journal, a peer-reviewed journal for emerging museum professionals that is co-produced by the National Emerging Museum Professionals Network and The Museum ScholarTheory and Practice is accepting submissions for its fourth volume, We the Museum, which seeks to develop a dialogue about how the power dynamics within and beyond museums affect everyone who engages with them, and how these structures are changing.

Deadline: Monday, February 1st, 2021 to be included in the Summer 2021 issue.

During calls for democratization and unions, amid the push to decolonize museums and public art, and throughout COVID-19 layoffs and budget cuts, museums have been reminded that they are inextricably linked to the political and social change in the communities they inhabit. However, the people who call for these changes—and who are affected by them—are often invisible within the institution. This fourth volume of the Museum Futures series seeks to develop a dialogue about how the power dynamics within and beyond museums affect everyone who engages with them, and how these structures are changing. How can the definition of a museum professional be expanded through recognition of labor and a redefinition of what is important in a museum? How can museums become institutions that are created both by the people and for the people?

Theory and Practice invites submissions from emerging professionals across the entire museum community, which includes all institutions that utilize a collection to educate the public. Case studies, research papers, presentations, exhibition reviews, and book reviews are welcome.

Submission Requirements:
● Abstract (up to 250 words)
● Author bio (up to 250 words)
● Manuscript and Citations (up to 5,000 words)
● Images/Videos (up to 10)
● List of Images/Videos
● Keywords (up to 5)

There are no fees to submit or publish, and all published articles will be free for all to read.
Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style citations for your submission. A style guide can be found on The Museum Scholar website here. Submit here, or submit via TheMuseumScholar.org.

If you have any questions, please contact Camille Roccanova at editor@themuseumscholar.org.

NEPMN Statement in Response to the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping

New York, NY (Oct 16, 2020)—NEMPN objects to the content of the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping that was issued by the President of the United States on September 22, 2020. NEMPN is troubled by the message that this Executive Order (EO) projects to not only museum professionals but to all those who are fighting to end systemic racism and sexism. It is one of NEMPN’s core beliefs that museums are cultural spaces for all and should strive to represent the many diverse cultures and histories that encompass our globe. We see this EO as undermining these values and pushing to reverse course on much-needed diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) efforts. NEMPN understands that this is difficulty and uncomfortable work but we also acknowledge this work as essential for the betterment of society. We want to reassure our network of wonderful museum colleagues around the world that NEMPN is dedicated to our DEAI work. We will continue to forge a path ahead to fight for a more equitable museum field.

About NEMPN

The National Emerging Museum Professionals Network envisions communities in which museum professionals make meaningful connections within and across backgrounds, disciplines, and institutions by providing leadership, responding to changing needs, enriching experiences, growing capabilities, and sharing resources. NEMPN is a registered 501(c)3. For more information: nationalempnetwork.org

New Board, New Directions

National Emerging Museum Professionals Network announces 2020 board, new direction for the future

National Emerging Museum Professionals Network announces 2020 board, new direction for the future

New York, NY (Oct 13, 2020)—The National Emerging Museum Professionals Network (NEMPN) today announced the selection of seven new board members, along with a renewed global vision for the organization and its role in providing guidance and support to new and growth track professionals in museums, cultural organizations, and other informal learning institutions.

After stepping into the role of co-President in July 2020 Sierra Van Ryck deGroot and Sierra Polisar have developed a vision for NEMPN that the pair say requires a strong team with the drive and determination to get the job done.

“NEMPN is poised to do some really big things this year and in the near future. We wanted to create a Board that is not only representative of the communities we serve, but also willing to get right to work with some of our big picture dreams for the upcoming year,” said Van Ryck deGroot, who also serves as the Education Programs Manager at Poster House in New York City. “We have quite a few goals and we needed the support of individuals who were ready and willing to get the organization where it needs to be.”

Those goals include fundraising to develop initiatives to support the EMP community, advocacy work both in and for museums, a museum salaries transparency project, and developing international resources and support networks for museum professionals at all stages of their growth and emergence. “We are excited to revitalize our resources and turn them into something more than just a place to ask questions related to the field,” said Laura Santoyo, returning Board member and newly appointed Board Secretary, and Curator of Collections at the Schingoethe Center of Aurora University. “We want NEMPN to be more than just a static, one-way resource. We want it to be a part of the community.”

The Board welcomes back the following returning members in their new roles: Treasurer—Chloe Doucette of Idaho Falls; Secretary—Laura Santoyo of Aurora, Illinois; and Director of Resources—Michelle Reynolds.

Along with new top leadership, the 2020/2021 Board welcomes four new regional directors and a new director of communications.

Director of Communications, Emily Esten (Digital Humanities Coordinator, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania)

Regional Director-Northeast, Kelsey Brow (Executive Director, King Manor Museum, New York)

Regional Director-Southeast, Cassandra Cavness (Development Assistant, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama)

Regional Director-Midwest, Dianne Choie (Youth and Family Programs Coordinator, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin)

Regional Director-Southwest, Amy C. Oliver (Visitor & Science Center Manager, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Arizona)

Regional Director-West, Jesse Dutton-Kenny (Museum Preparator, SFO Museum, California)

Regional Director-International/Multi-Location, Madeline Smolarz (Museum Assistant, City of Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

About NEMPN

The National Emerging Museum Professionals Network envisions communities in which museum professionals make meaningful connections within and across backgrounds, disciplines, and institutions by providing leadership, responding to changing needs, enriching experiences, growing capabilities, and sharing resources. NEMPN is a registered 501(c)3. For more information: nationalempnetwork.org

Next Steps for NEMPN

It is with great respect that we announce a transition of our NEMPN leadership team. Our founding President, Michelle Epps; Vice President, Katie Conrad; and our Secretary, Kristen Mihalko will be stepping down from their roles on the executive team. Sena Dawes, our Communications Chair, will also be stepping down from her role on NEMPN Board. On behalf of NEMPN, we wish Michelle, Kristen, Katie, and Sena luck, and thank them for their boundless support and guidance over the years.In this transition, the Board has elected an Interim leadership team, until new candidates can be officially voted in. Our new leadership team is:

Interim Co-Presidents, Sierra Van Ryck deGroot and Sierra Polisar (hereby known as “the Sierras”)

Interim Treasurer, Chloe Doucette

Interim Secretary, Laura Santoyo

Interim Resource Chair, Michelle Reynolds

The National Emerging Museum Professionals Network (NEMPN) was built to give museum professionals across the country and the world a voice, a community, and the resources to flourish in their careers, and it is in this spirit that our newly restructured Board of Directors is excited to rethink and revitalize NEMPN alongside the vibrant community of professionals that our group has become.As we embark on this transition, we are putting out a call for additional Board members to join us in support of our mission and reenergizing the NEMPN. Please find our call for Board members and information on how to apply here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zqwYl5XihxUYRgq1xzqfJuW4EXIVX2oiYO_SJYEQfxs/edit?usp=sharing

We are also looking to include the voices and ideas of the EMP community as much as possible as we rethink what NEMPN can and should do to support museum professionals. We will be hosting a virtual EMP Town Hall on August 11th at 8 pm ET via Zoom. Please visit the Facebook group for more information on the EMP Town Hall.

Farewell Message from NEMPN President Michelle Epps

After advocating for emerging museum professionals for 10 years, I believe it is time for me to step down as president of the National Emerging Museum Professionals Network in order to focus more on my role as Executive Director of the Cleveland-based Art Therapy Studio. Both the pandemic and the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks has resulted in both an increase in demand and need for mental health services to the community in which my organization is positioned and supports. I have come to the realization that I am not able to serve the missions of both organizations with my full-self and would rather relinquish one so both don’t fail. Though I am sad to leave, this will allow NEMPN to welcome a fresh perspective with new leadership which will propel the organization into the next decade. This was a difficult decision for me to make as I am still very passionate about improving the museum field.

Six years ago I set out to unite all the Emerging Museum Professional chapters when the American Alliance of Museums decided to move in another direction for their EMP initiatives. The formation of the National Emerging Museum Professionals Network from its inception has been a collaborative effort. There are so many individuals to thank for making NEMPN possible; from our current board members who are trying to listen and respond to the needs and wants of the larger EMP community at this moment, to the past board members and current and former chapter leaders who participated in countless meetings and were incredibly generous with their time and limited resources. 

During my role as President, we made great strides in advancing our cause and I am extremely proud of the work we have accomplished together. I wanted to take a moment to highlight the work we have done collectively to show how far we have come and hopefully inspire us to go further still. Together we effectively worked with our colleagues at 43 museum associations to support the adoption of salary transparency policies on their job boards. We started a partnership with Rogers Publishing to create Theory & Practice, a journal dedicated exclusively to the writings of emerging museum professionals. Collectively we compiled and vetted a detailed list of museum studies programs in the U.S.and hosted this information in one place to allow for easier searching of programs available. We also surveyed our community to discover details and insights into who EMPs are and what challenges we face in breaking into the field. And lastly, we worked to create a space of learning and collaboration on our social media accounts by promoting real discussion about the challenges facing the museum field today. All these accomplishments would not be possible without YOU!

“Retiring” alongside me are former Vice President Katie Conrad and former Secretary Kristen Mihalko. Both Katie and Kristen have been instrumental in keeping NEMPN going over the last couple of years and I owe them a debt of gratitude for their loyalty, compassion, and dedication. Though we may be departing, the current NEMPN board will continue on with our mission to engage museum professionals across all stages of their careers in building vibrant communities of networking, knowledge exchange, and resource sharing. We know there is still more work to be done and we hope you will remain engaged so we can continue to advocate together for museums to do and be better.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to emerging museum professionals!

Sincerely,

Michelle Epps

Immediate Past President 

National EMP Network

Theory & Practice Call for Submissions Spring 2019

T&PHeadline1000 (1)Call for Papers: Theory and Practice: The Emerging Museum Professionals Journal is accepting Abstracts for consideration for its second volume: “Museum Futures: Diversity, Inclusivity, and Social Justice.”

Abstract Deadline: DEADLINE EXTENDED! Wednesday, December 19, 2018.

The future of museums is constantly in question, yet the shifting priorities of museums throughout history have shown that museums are, in fact, adaptable.

In our second volume in the “Museum Futures” series, we seek to engage in a dialogue about how issues of diversity, inclusivity, and social justice will affect how museums interact with objects, visitors, and their communities at-large. What do we mean when we speak about diversity? How can museums expand the ways in which they are inclusive? What is the role of the museum in the examination and implementation of social justice?

This volume seeks to answer these questions by exploring the transdisciplinary theories involved in museum studies, as well as what we learn from being practitioners within museums.

Submission Requirements:

  • Name and email
  • Title
  • Abstract (up to 250 words)
  • Author bio (up to 200 words)
  • Keywords (up to 5)

Deadline for Abstract is December 3, 2018 to be included in the spring 2019 issue. Submission of research papers, presentations, exhibition reviews, and book reviews are welcome. MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations are welcome as we realize the inherent transdisciplinarity of the museum field.

Authors will be notified of their accepted proposals no later than December 15, 2018.

Submissions should be made online by clicking here. If you have any questions, please email T&P Editor Kelsey Picken, theoryandpractice@nationalempnetwork.org.

Theory and Practice: The Emerging Museum Professionals Journal is coproduced by The Museum Scholar and the National Emerging Museum Professionals Network. There are no fees for participation and all articles will be free for all to read.

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Join our Board of Directors!

The NEMPN is currently recruiting for 4 new board members for the position of General Board Member. This position requires 20 volunteer hours each month and must serve on one of the NEMPN Board Committees. The position is a two year engagement and can be renewed up to 3 times.

Board Responsibilities Include:

  • Voting on all voting decisions
  • Volunteering on a NEMPN Board Committee
  • Participating in 5 board meetings a year (required to attend at least 4)
  • Attend at least one Leaders Meeting with all of NEMPN’s Chapter Leaders
  • Promoting and supporting NEMPN’s mission and vision
  • Share ideas on the direction and focus of NEMPN
  • Adhere to the bi-laws and governing principles of NEMPN
  • Sign an annual conflict-of-interest disclosure and update it during the year if necessary, as well as disclose potential conflicts before meetings and actual conflicts during meetings
  • Maintain confidentiality about all internal matters of the organization
  • Volunteers for and willingly accepts assignments and completes them thoroughly and on time

The ideal candidate will be a museum professional looking for ways to be more connected in the museum field or make an impact in the museum field.  

National EMP Network is dedicated to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in the museum field and strive to include the voices of diverse populations of culture, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, geographical region, political affiliation, and disability. When NEMPN uses the strengths and different perspectives that each individual offers, we feel we are in a better position to serve the entire community of Emerging Museum Professionals more effectively.

All meetings are held electronically via Google Hangouts or via a conference line.

National EMP Network’s mission is to engage museum professionals across all stages of their careers in building vibrant communities of networking, knowledge exchange, and resource sharing.

The National Emerging Museum Professionals Network envisions communities in which museum professionals make meaningful connections within and across backgrounds, disciplines, and institutions by providing leadership, responding to changing needs, enriching experiences, growing capabilities, sharing resources, advocating for the museum profession, and connecting groups on a local and national level.

If you are interested in joining the NEMPN Board of Directors please send your resume, 3 references, and a statement of interest to president@nationalempnetwork.org by December 15th, 2018.