Events Conference
MuseumNext: Facilitating Meaningful Conversations on Social Justice in a Virtual Space

In-person events have been sorely missed the past two years. The energy of live speakers and meaningful conversations fostered by face-to-face communication is hard to replicate in virtual spaces. However, online events can capture these essential qualities and offer additional benefits, as evident in “A Seat at the Table: The Triumphs and Challenges of Black Education.” The National Museum of African American History and Culture held an online event that featured a dynamic speaker panel and drove lively conversations among audience members. We’ll discuss how this event can serve as a template for future events at NMAAHC and other museums.


Deirdre leads a team of museum educators, program specialists, and digital producers to develop various highly successful participatory, collections-based public programs at the museum, focused on social justice issues of historic importance and contemporary significance.

Deirdre has worked for NMAAHC for 12 of the 20 years she has spent at the Smithsonian Institution. Deirdre received a BA English and an MA in African American Studies and Literature from the University of Iowa.

Leslie leads the museum’s social justice and scholarly programs portfolio. He works with curators and other museum staff to develop public programming and outreach activities that help audiences recognise, name, and combat inequities faced by African Americans based on the museum’s exhibitions and collections. He also assists the programming department by leading audience evaluations and research. Leslie completed his interdisciplinary undergraduate education in anthropology, Spanish, and Africana Studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He earned a MA in applied anthropology from the University of South Florida. Leslie also completed further graduate studies in museum education from Oregon State University.

Joey has built his career developing and managing brands for associations, startups, and Fortune companies, with a focus in brands for cause-driven organizations and grassroots programs. Combining his training in television news with graphic arts, his approach puts visual storytelling at the core of brand building. His knack for crisp messaging, strong visual design and understanding of brand perceptions blend to create memorable brand experiences. He received his B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from Marshall University.