Melanie Adams Appointed Director of Anacostia Museum

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Melanie A. Adams becomes the director of the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum, effective August 5, 2019. Previously Adams served as Deputy Director, Learning Initiatives, at the Minnesota Historical Society. With more than 25 years of community engagement experience in museums and higher education, she is dedicated to bringing stakeholders together to address community issues. Since 2016, Adams had led efforts at the Minnesota Historical Society to develop strategic partnerships, audiences and resources within local communities. During her tenure, she created a community outreach department to provide partnerships and programs to connect local communities with the 26 historic sites and museums she managed throughout Minnesota. Prior to her time at the Minnesota Historical Society, Melanie was managing director of the Missouri Historical Society for eleven years. In that role, she addressed the social and cultural concerns of the St. Louis community and oversaw more than 700 community programs each year, including events with more than 100 partners. Earlier in her career, Melanie focused on racial inequality in education. Appointed by the mayor in 2007 to the Special Administrative Board of St. Louis Public Schools, she worked for nine years with students, staff and the public to help the district regain accreditation. Melanie has received numerous accolades for her community work; she was named a St. Louis NAACP 100 Community Leader in 2009 and the Royal Vagabonds Foundation Extraordinary St. Louis Trailblazer in 2014. Melanie was president of the Association of Midwest Museums from 2014 to 2016, and she currently serves on the board of directors for the American Association of State and Local History. As a facilitator of workshops on topics related to museums and race, she helps professionals understand barriers to connecting with diverse audiences. Melanie holds a bachelor's degree in English/African-American studies from the University of Virginia, a master's of education degree from the University of Vermont and a doctorate from the University of Missouri St. Louis in educational leadership and policy studies.


  • Adams, Melanie A 1969-
  • Minnesota Historical Society
  • Anacostia Community Museum


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Smithsonian Announcements, 5/23/2019, "Message from the Secretary: Director named for Anacostia Community Museum"

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


August 5, 2019


  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Museum directors
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees
  • African Americans


Washington (D.C.)

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