Meet the Board of Directors


Director
Ken Yarsevich
Advertising Specialist
Michigan Economic Development Council/Travel Michigan
Lansing



Favorite Quote
“Take a deep breath and don’t take any of it too seriously” - Cher

What is your museum background?  
My cultural and museum background first started in 1993 when I became Marketing & Communications Manager for Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP). I held that position for 6 years and was responsible for all marketing and communication functions, and year-round group tour, museum store and public relations staff as well as seasonal customer service staff.  During my tenure, we celebrated the Mackinac Island State Park Commission Centennial, opened two new exhibits, and expanded educational programing. In 1998, I moved on to Travel Michigan (the state tourism promotion department) as the state’s cultural liaison. As such, I created advertising, publications and campaigns promoting cultural institutions throughout the state, and ensured cultural tourism was one of the four key promotional efforts for Travel Michigan.   
 
How did you get involved with MMA?
I first became involved with MMA when the annual conference was held on Mackinac Island while working for MSHP. I assisted with the conference planning, programming, and conference events. I then became involved with MMA board members on several projects and research items related to museums around the state. 
 
What is your favorite thing about MMA?
I enjoy working with the MMA board on items, projects and efforts to advance the Michigan museum community.  I like the many programs—educational, networking, member gatherings and conversations—and the advocacy that MMA does for museums around the state. Museums are a large part of the Michigan economy and we need to continue to educate our local and state leaders of its importance. 


Director
George Bayard
Executive Director
Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA)
Grand Rapids




Favorite Quote?

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace,” - Jimi Hendrix  

I grew up listening to his music after hearing mostly soul, R&B, and gospel music, he was a departure from the norm and the best guitarist ever. Unfortunately, in today’s society, peace seems much harder to achieve as the love of power has become dominant.

What is your museum background?

My degrees are in art history and education. I was an art collector at first and developed the Bayard Gallery of Fine African American Art in Grand Rapids 30 years ago. When at the University of Delaware, my history professor encouraged me to explore my genealogy and when the Roots series aired on TV, I was hooked on Black History. I started in my grandmother's house and began collecting family and historical artifacts. When our collection became too large, we moved from a for-profit to a non-profit venture. I served on the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s collection committee, Grand Valley State University’s Kutsche Local History Council, MCACA, and the African American Museum Association, then opened Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives or GRAAMA in 2015. I am also a professional picture framer and appraiser.

How did you get involved with MMA?

I first heard about MMA when doing a joint project with Charles Wright Museum in Detroit. I had been meeting with Juanita Moore and LaNesha DeBardelaben and they encouraged us to become members. LaNesha also inspired me to become engaged with the board and add some diversity to the group. During the conference in Detroit, we were able to see the advantages of being part of a larger institution serving the museum community. Henry Matthews also guided us towards MMA during the joint conference with the Association of Midwest Museums in Grand Rapids, but getting GRAAMA off the ground was my priority until Lisa Plank reached out to become a board member last year.

What is your favorite thing about MMA?

For us, the annual conferences are the most informative, worthwhile, and favorite things that MMA does. GRAAMA has learned so much about all aspects of museum management from major supervision to the minor details of museum life. The speakers bring priceless expertise to fledgling museums like us. Being able to bounce ideas off other museum's personnel is a valuable element of our evolution.


Director
Michelle McClellan, Ph.D. 
Johanna Meijer Magoon Principal Archivist
Bentley Historical Library
Ann Arbor



Favorite Quote?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

Gretzky scored more points in the National Hockey League than anyone else, ever. It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking that things come easily for someone so successful, but he must have missed a lot too. So his words are a good reminder that trying, taking risks, will not always succeed and can be very scary—but if you don’t try, you’ll never get there. 

What is your museum background?

My love for museums and history began very young with trips to Greenfield Village (as it was called then) with my family when I was a little girl. After earning a Ph.D. in American history, I taught for many years, always looking for ways to take my students outside the classroom to engage with the tangible history (material culture, historic landscapes, family stories) that are all around us. I also volunteered on community history projects and historic preservation campaigns in places I lived. All this time I kept visiting museums, of course, and I decided to seek additional training as an archivist. The position I am in now, field archivist for the Michigan Historical Collections at the Bentley Historical Library, brings it all together.

How did you get involved with MMA?

I grew up in Michigan but lived elsewhere for graduate school and my early career. I came back to the state in 2004 and one of the first things I did was attend an MMA conference. I was immediately impressed with how welcoming it was. I became involved through committees, workshops, and ultimately the Board in 2018. 

What is your favorite thing about MMA?

The people and the energy. It’s so rewarding to align with such smart and talented people who share your passion for museums. I have also found MMA folks to be kind, funny, and generous – they take the work seriously but don’t take themselves too seriously.


Director
Ann Rock
President
NonProfit Development Services
Detroit



Favorite Quote?
“The virus has taught us that life and health are precarious and we must not squander precious time.” - Tom Hanks

This year has been a time for reflection and it has made me realize that life doesn’t happen while sitting at a computer and that time and health are our most precious assets.


What is your museum background?
Truthfully, my museum background started as a kid at the Streets of Old Detroit at the Detroit Historical Museum and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I love to visit museums and think that they are a unique way to educate people in thoughtful and innovative ways. Whenever I travel, my plans always include a visit to at least one museum.

My background is in fundraising and I’ve been involved in many museum projects with the Detroit Historical Society, Mackinac State Historic Parks, the University of Michigan, and the archives at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I have a bachelor’s degree in History and a Master of Business Administration. I always wanted a degree in Museum Studies, and did earn a certificate in Archival Administration at Wayne State University. I also have worked raising funds for performing arts organizations.  There is a lot of crossover because education is a theme that runs through both types of institutions.

How did you get involved with MMA?

I was asked to join the Board sometime around 2009.  Unfortunately, I had to resign and then was asked to rejoin in 2018. I’ve been a conference volunteer and it is always fun to see something of this scale come together.  I think that MMA provides a valuable service to members who need information about career growth and best practices for museum management. 

What is your favorite thing about MMA?

I love the spirit of our Board and our members. There is a lot of creativity, innovation and positivity.  It’s a tough field and we are always resource constrained. But somehow, museum professionals do great things and find ways to educate, entertain and encourage connections. 


Director

Dominick Miller
Chief of Marketing
Mackinac State Historic Parks
Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island




Favorite Quote?

“It’s a great day for a ballgame – let’s play two!” - Ernie Banks
I’m a big baseball fan, and he’s one of the all-time great players from my favorite team. He’d say that pretty often, no matter what the day actually looked like, and despite the fact that he played on some historically bad teams. I like the sentiment of going into each day like that.


What is your museum background?
My museum background comes completely from Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP). I started with the organization in September 2014 as the Group Travel and Special Events Coordinator. In March 2017, I became the Marketing Manager, in charge of marketing and group sales, and was promoted in October of 2020 to Chief of Marketing. In this role, I’m part of the executive staff of Mackinac State Historic Parks, and oversee all aspects of marketing, including museum stores. 

How did you get involved with MMA?

I learned about MMA after I joined MSHP. MSHP has been a member of MMA since its inception, and it has been an important membership for our organization. I kind of lurked around the edges when I first started with MSHP, reading the newsletter, seeing what was happening, but took a more active interest after I became marketing manager. In that new role, I was excited to investigate new professional development opportunities, and MMA seemed like a great place to get started. 

What is your favorite thing about MMA?

The spirit of collaboration between museum professionals is absolutely incredible. I always enjoy joining an event, or chat, or committee and being around a group of professionals that seem generally excited to be there and full of ideas. 


Director

Megan McAdow
Director
Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum
University Center




Personal Motto?
"Hope is not a plan!" With my background in collections management this has been a mantra.

What is your museum background?
McAdow’s career working in museums spans 20 years and six Michigan museums. She began as an intern at the Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society, now called the Oakland History Center. McAdow credits this internship for her initial love of museums and has worked hard to provide paid internships whenever possible. McAdow joined the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum as Director in December 2018. Prior to this position she served as Director of Collections & Education at Applewood Estate for the Ruth Mott Foundation in Flint. 
She was in that position for over five years and had the rare opportunity to open the historic estate as a museum, including tours inside the Mott home for the first time ever. Before Applewood McAdow worked for over eight years as the Collections & Exhibitions Manager at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. Prior to that role she served in the Collections Department at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Leadership from University of Michigan – Dearborn, a Graduate Certificate in Museum Collections Management and Care from George Washington University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Oakland University where she also minored in Studio Art focusing on photographic and video media.

Megan was born and raised in Oxford, Michigan and had been living in the Royal Oak area for the last 10+ years until moving to Flint with her husband four years ago.

How did you get involved with MMA?

My first experiences with MMA were through their fantastic annual conferences. I enjoyed both learning more about the field as well as meeting colleagues who shared similar challenges and/or offered insights and solutions. When I learned that MMA members could get involved in conference planning I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. I now enjoy and support all areas of MMA’s work in service to our Museum colleagues across the state.

What is your favorite thing about MMA?

The people! Museum folks are the best – they are always passionate about some specialty area and have fascinating stories and information to share.


Director

Emily Lanctot
Director and Curator
Northern Michigan University’s DeVos Art Museum
Marquette




Personal Motto?

Your focus is your future.

What is your museum background?
I started working at The DeVos Museum and the Students' Art Gallery at Northern Michigan University as an undergraduate student. The work was hands-on, and I enjoyed talking to visitors, thinking about the importance of layout and installation, working with artists and curators, and volunteering for education programs. After I graduated, I stayed connected as a member of the Museum's advisory committee. During graduate school, my performance and installation-based artwork focused on objects, archives, and collections. I also learned a great deal through volunteer work as a member of the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Committee and as a Commissioner on the Public Arts Advisory Committee. In 2015, I accepted a role as the Curator of Collections and Outreach at the DeVos Art Museum, and in 2018 became the Director and Curator. I love how Museums reveal myriad perspectives and provide access to different ways of knowing and understanding the world.


How did you get involved with MMA?

In 2015, I took an MMA workshop, and since then, I have attended lunches, conferences, exhibition receptions, and read applications for conference scholarships. Lisa was instrumental in inviting me into the MMA fold.

What is your favorite thing about MMA? 

I love the level of engagement that MMA facilitates. It is incredible to see so many Museum professionals care about the field and each other. MMA helps to bring people and ideas together and helps me feel connected to my colleagues. 


Director

Mark Heppner
President & CEO
Ford House
Grosse Pointe Shores



Personal motto?
“Do the most good for the most people.”

What is your museum background?
I “cut my teeth” in the museum field volunteering, interning and working in many capacities and at several institutions over my career. My earlier background came from the “curatorial-collection world” and began in earnest at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, a National Historic Landmark in Akron, OH. I spent 16 years there rising up in the organization and finally found myself in more administrative roles. I eventually took the leap of faith to run my own historic estate, Salisbury House & Gardens in Des Moines, IA. I spent 3 years there as Executive Director before being recruited to the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House as the Vice President of Collections & Visitor Experience. Today, I am the President & CEO of Ford House and a day does not go by where I do not reflect on how fortunate I am. I could not have imagined, those many, many years ago when I decided to make a career in this field that I would be here today.

How did you get involved with MMA?
I came to Michigan in 2012 and quickly reached out to MMA. In all of my past roles, I have always tried to be involved with the state museum associations in which I lived (Ohio & Iowa) and was fortunate to serve on the boards of both states. It did not take long for MMA to get into my blood and I found myself quickly on the board and I have been honored to serve the museum community in this capacity.

What is your favorite thing about MMA?
In our day to day work, it is often easy to develop “blinders” to things around you. The risk is that this can shelter you from the museum field and you can quickly forget about the good work (and challenges) that are occurring around you. MMA, through its many programs, is a constant reminder of the greater good and how each of us is part of something larger. MMA helps to keep me personally grounded and I continue to learn new things and, even on occasion, might share my own experience in a helpful way.


Director

Christina Hirn Arseneau
Director
Niles History Center
Niles





Favorite Quote?
"The past is never dead. It's not even past." -William Faulkner

What is your museum background?
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, my favorite childhood book, convinced me that I needed to work in a museum. As a college student at the University of Illinois, I volunteered at every museum on campus, covering world history, natural history and art. I completed summer internships at the Brooklyn Art Museum and the Milwaukee Public Museum. At New York University I earned an MA in Classics and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies. I have worked as an educator, curator and director at museums in Illinois, Wisconsin, New York and Michigan. Ona  personal note, I met my husband, also a museum professional, at a museum conference. Museums always feel like home to me.

How did you get involved with MMA?
I moved to Michigan from Illinois in 2006. I had been involved with the Illinois Association of Museums, so it was a natural move to join MMA. I started attending conferences and volunteering as a proofreader and on the Museum Squad. I was elected to the Board of Directors 2017.

What is your favorite thing about MMA?
MMA gives me an opportunity to connect with other museum professionals across the state. No one understands this world like another museum colleague. MMA also helps me keep up with what’s happening in the museum field.


Director
Sanam Arab
Manager of Technology Library
University of Michigan-LSA Technology Services
Ann Arbor




Favorite Quote?
“Becoming a doctor is easy, becoming a decent human being is much harder”— My father, Dr. Seifoddin Arab (1934-2004)

What is your museum background?
My earliest memories of fun family events revolve around visiting museums, antique shops and flea markets around the world especially in Iran and France as my family put their love of art and collecting together. My interest expanded once moving to the US, and I received my BA in History of Art followed by my Master’s Degree in Archives and Records Management and a Graduate Certificate in Museums Studies, all from University of Michigan. Although the majority of my career has been in libraries or collection management and circulation, I have worked in various archives and at U-M Museum of Art. I served on the Baha’i World Centre Library and Archives Executive Board, and currently also Chair the City of Dexter Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee and I am on the City’s Art Selection Committee.

How did you get involved with MMA?
In 2012, Dr. Bradley Taylor, then on the Board of Michigan Museums Association and the Associate Director of U-M Museums Studies Program, encouraged me to submit my first MMA Conference paper. As a Museums Studies student, I presented in the student papers session and that was the beginning of my membership and involvement in MMA. As he finished his term on the Board of Directors, Brad nominated me, and I have been serving on the Board since October 2016. I also have been involved with Museum Advocacy Day through MMA and look forward to my 5th year attending the event once we can all be back in D.C.

What is your favorite thing about MMA?
MMA is a family. We form friendships as well as professional connections. And we all care about the success of the organization that gives so much to museums across Michigan. And this is evident in every level of the organization from the Board to different committees and members themselves. There are many paths of involvement at MMA and through all one can expand their knowledge, give back to the community, and do it all while having fun with friends and colleagues. 


Secretary
Caitlyn Perry Dial, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of Development
MSU College of Veterinary Medicine
East Lansing





Favorite Quote?

"Be excellent to each other." - Bill and Ted
 
What is your museum background?
I started my museum career way back in the early 2000s when I was an undergrad at Michigan State. I was a history major and knew that I wanted to seek a career in museums after returning from Study Abroad in the UK. I took that path through graduate school and became familiar with collections care, education, visitor experience, administration, and fundraising. In my last position, I was Executive Director of the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame where I feel like I put all of those skills to work. Though I have left the field (for now!), I am still committed to the advancement of Michigan's museums and of this organization.


How did you get involved with MMA?
I started getting involved with MMA in 2009 at the conference in Kalamazoo. I was in my first year of my PhD studies and realized right then that I had found my people.

What is your favorite thing about MMA?
My favorite thing about MMA are the connections and friendships I have gained over the years. It's not just a group of like-minded, museum loving people, but MMA has a culture of "helping up" where those within this organization reached down the ladder and pulled me up as they moved along. I've tried to do the same.

Treasurer

Lisa Plank

Executive Director
Lowell Area Historical Museum
Lowell





Favorite Quote?

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” - Audrey Hepburn
 
What is your museum background?
I have always been fascinated by history. I think it began in my grandparents basement where generations of family memorabilia were tucked in corners. In middle school, I began volunteering with the Public Museum of Grand Rapids. They graciously took an eager 12 year old under their wing and let me spend the next 5 years as a volunteer and intern in the collection department. My time there solidified my interest in history and in my conviction that the public loves history. To present the exciting things I had seen behind the scenes to others was something I wanted to pursue. I went on to do a Public History degree at Western Michigan University and graduate coursework at the University of South Carolina in Applied History. My time at Western was enhanced with internships at the Michigan Maritime Museum and the Allegheny Heritage Development Corporation in Pennsylvania and a summer of Archaeology field school. My Sophomore year was spent at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. For a history major, it was a bit of dream. The town is rich in history. Studying early Scottish history in the actual buildings that it occurred in was remarkable.

My career has included work at the Voigt House, Hackley & Hume Site with the Lakeshore Museum, Carver County Museum- Minnesota, Richfield Historical Society- Minnesota, and currently the Lowell Area Historical Museum. I have worked as a volunteer coordinator, site manager, assistant curator and director. Every position has allowed me to pursue presenting history to the public and bringing it alive for them.

How did you get involved with MMA?
I began by attending conferences and then serving on the program selection committee for the joint conference with AASLH. I was elected to the Board in 2016 and appointed Treasurer in 2017.

What is your favorite thing about MMA?
The Michigan Museums Association provides an opportunity to connect with other museum professionals. This networking strengthens our organizations and our state’s museum professionals. It also provides us with a way to give back to the museum community and mentor an upcoming generation.

Vice President

Jason Dake
Deputy Director of Museum Programs & Learning
Dennos Museum Center 
Traverse City





Favorite Quote?
"He at least was learning the world, the good and the bad of it, as must happen to every one who accomplishes anything in it." - Mark Twain, The Gilded Age

What is your museum background?
My last semester of undergrad before student teaching, I visited the CMU Museum with my history class. That's when I realized that people are trained to work in museums for a living. I stuck with teaching and spent a year, post-graduation, looking for a teaching job in K-12 art. Eventually, I took on a service year with Americorps in the Downriver Detroit area. When I finished my year of service, I landed a job at the Flint Institute of Arts where I spent 6 years in the education department designing curriculum, teaching art classes, leading gallery tours, and developing my early career as a professional museum educator. I also found time to graduate as the first recipient of a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from University of Michigan - Flint, in December 2011.
 
In 2012, I joined the staff of the Dennos Museum Center as curator of education, where I handle most all responsibilities associated with learning. I train docent volunteers, lead tours and public programs, collaborate with local partners, and write interpretive texts. Given our small staff, I also curate and hang exhibitions, book performing groups, and handle some of the public relations as well.
 
I'm probably one of the few museum professionals of my generation who has had the privilege of working for just 2 museums full-time over the course of 13 years. I try to spend some of my extracurricular time helping others accomplish the same, advocating for transparency, fair wages, holistic funding, and a supportive work culture.

How did you get involved with MMA?

My first interaction with MMA was in 2006 during the Flint conference. It wasn't until I joined the Dennos Museum Center that I was actively encouraged by colleagues to get more involved. I helped plan conferences and programs in 2013 and 2014, and have led various conference sessions since then. In 2016, I was invited to join the board, and happily accepted.

What is your favorite thing about MMA? 

I have often espoused the amazing opportunity that MMA represents to younger professionals, perhaps more than they even wanted to hear. But if someone wants to develop their career, meet similarly passionate museum geeks, or have some fun that is related to their work interests, MMA is the organization to join. The welcoming atmosphere and flexibility for how to be involved are what keep me in board meetings and at the annual conferences.


President

Nathan Kemler
Director of Galleries and Collections
Grand Valley State University 
Allendale





Favorite Quote?
“That belongs in a museum!” – Indiana Jones

What is your museum background?

I started very young. My father collects Victorian paper ephemera, among other things, and as a result my family and were frequent visitors to antique shops. Coming out of this deep appreciation for history, I started my career with my undergraduate studies in world history, archaeology, art history, and studio art. All of these areas of study came together with my first internship at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. I was hooked from that point on.

I continued on to grad school and then returned to the Public Museum for my first official professional position. After that appointment I went on to work at the Holland Museum and then Grand Valley State University. Over the past 20 years, I have worked as collections manager, curator, assistant director and now director. I serve on museum boards and as a American Alliance of Museums Peer Reviewer in the Museum Assessment Program.

How did you get involved with MMA?

During my first few years in the museum field, I attended a MMA conference. I remembering not knowing anyone and being amazed by how many other museum professionals there were in our state. I was eager to learn new things and meet new people so I continued attending MMA’s annual conferences and eventually started to attend whatever workshop or events I could throughout the rest of the year. I began to volunteer on numerous MMA committees such as professional development, programs, and the conference team. I co-hosted a MMA conference in 2012 in Muskegon and then joined the board in 2016.

What is your favorite thing about MMA? 

There is something incredibly powerful when you’re able to connect with others on a passion level. With MMA, we all share a passion for the impact that museums provide to our communities. So my favorite thing about MMA has always been getting into a space (a conference session, event, or Zoom call) with other museum professionals and feeling our collective energy. MMA has always excelled at bringing people together and making those experiences accessible for everyone.

The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Thank you to our Partners!
    

Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721      lcbrisson@michiganmuseums.org

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