Melanie Adams has been appointed as the new director of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum in southeast D.C.
Adams, who officially takes the helm on Aug. 5, previously served as deputy director of learning initiatives at the Minnesota Historical Society.
“I am excited and honored to join the staff of the Anacostia Community Museum and build upon the great legacy of socially relevant programs, exhibitions and collections that explore the D.C. community and serve as a national model for the museum field,” said Adams, who has more than 25 years of community engagement experience in museums and higher education.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in English/African-American studies from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in education from the University of Vermont and a doctorate from the University of Missouri St. Louis in educational leadership and policy studies, Adams is dedicated to bringing stakeholders together to address relevant community issues.
Her past work has focused on racial inequality in education and other areas. 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. Adams 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.
Since 2016, Adams has led efforts at the Minnesota Historical Society to develop strategic partnerships, audiences and resources within local communities. As deputy director, she managed 26 historic sites and museums throughout Minnesota. During her tenure, she created the community outreach department to provide partnerships and programs outside the museum walls.