Visions of America: Exploring “Herstory” – Trailblazing Women in Museum and Library Spaces

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Program Description:

In this episode of VISIONS OF AMERICA: All Stories, All People, All Places, trailblazing women leading museums and libraries are highlighted. These are the women who have advocated for, founded, and inspired many of our nation’s most treasured institutions, and the women today, who are carrying on that legacy.  

Members of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) leadership, Laura Huerta Migus and Teri DeVoe, join PBS Books Heather-Marie Montilla to explore the lesser-known stories of the women, who have been instrumental to contributing to our country’s cultural institutions–libraries, museums, and archives. Dr. Carla Hayden, Thelma Golden, Dr. Margaret Walker, and Lucy Somerville Howorth are among the exceptional women discussed. Then, IMLS Anne Radice chats with the Alice West Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), Dr. Susan Fisher Sterling, to share about the museum’s beginnings, its mission, and its recent renovation, which continues the legacy of co-founder Billie Cole Holladay’s vision. 

Discover more about the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Guest Biographies:

Laura Huerta Migus - Headshot

Laura Huerta Migus – Deputy Director for Museum Services

Laura Huerta Migus was appointed Deputy Director of the Office of Museum Services in July 2021. She came to IMLS following her tenure as executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) in Arlington, Virginia, the world’s largest professional society promoting and advocating on behalf of children’s museums and children’s museum professionals.

Throughout her career, Huerta Migus has been devoted to the growth and education of children, particularly those from underserved and under-resourced communities. Under her leadership, ACM pursued innovative and effective partnerships to leverage the power of children’s museums worldwide.

In 2018, Huerta Migus was named as an Ascend Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and in 2016, she was recognized as a Champion of Change for Summer Opportunity by the White House. She is a noted speaker and author on topics of equity and audience-focused museum practice for institutions including the Board of Science Education of the National Academies of Sciences, the U.S. Play Coalition, and various university texts.

Previously, she served as the director of professional development and equity initiatives at the Association of Science-Technology Centers, Inc., has published articles in peer-reviewed texts, and served as principal investigator on numerous informal learning initiatives.

Since joining IMLS, Huerta Migus has helped the agency establish the American Latino Museum Internship and Fellowship Initiative (ALMIFI). This initiative is designed to strengthen the institutional capacity of American Latino museums, provide paid internship and fellowship opportunities for a diverse range of students, and build connections between colleges, universities, and museums.

She also worked closely with IMLS’ Office of Research and Evaluation to successfully launch the first National Museum Survey (NMS), which will capture the scope and scale of museums’ presence and reach within the U.S. over time. Once mature, the survey will collect foundational, high-level data directly from museums to inform policymakers, the museum field, and the public about the social, cultural, educational, and economic roles that the nation’s diverse museums play in American society.

Huerta Migus holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in organization development and leadership from Saint Joseph’s University.

Teri DeVoe- Headshot

Teri DeVoe – Associate Deputy Director in the Office of Library Services

Associate Deputy Director in the Office of Library Services Teri DeVoe is an Associate Deputy Director at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). She leads the Grants to States program that provides formula-based library funding to states, territories, and freely associated states.

Teri has also served in multiple positions in the agency’s Office of Library Services since 2012. Previously, Teri was the Coordinator of the EPA National Library Network and has additional library experience in university, school, and non-profit settings. She holds a Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS), and an MA in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Anne-Imelda Radice - Headshot

Anne-Imelda Radice – Senior Advisor

Anne-Imelda Radice is a senior advisor in the Office of the Director. She previously served as Director of the Division of Public Programs at NEH. Prior to joining NEH in July 2018 she served as Executive Director of the American Folk Art Museum.

From 2006 to 2010 Radice served as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Her previous government positions include Acting Deputy Chairman for Programs and Special Advisor to the Chairman of NEH, Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Education, Acting Chairman and Senior Deputy Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Chief Arts Advisor for the U.S. Information Agency, and Curator for the Architect of the U.S. Capitol. Radice is a recipient of the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the Forbes Medal, and the NEA’s Chairman’s Medal. She holds an MBA from American University, a PhD in art and architectural history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, an MA from Villa Schifanoia School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, and an AB from Wheaton College.

Susan Fisher Sterling - Headshot

Susan Fisher Sterling – Alice West Director of NMWA in Washington, D.C.

Susan Fisher Sterling is Alice West Director of NMWA in Washington, D.C. She built her career and the stature of the museum around the message of equity for women through excellence in the arts.

Sterling started at NMWA in 1988-a year after the museum opened—as associate curator, then was appointed curator of modern and contemporary art, followed by chief curator/deputy director. Sterling assumed the directorship of the museum in 2008. Under Sterling’s collaborative, feminist leadership, the museum has presented landmark exhibitions of work by many of today’s most influential women artists and organized numerous associated publications. She also led projects advancing the scholarship and recognition of great women artists of history. NMWA’s influence has grown through signature programs like the groundbreaking Women, Arts, and Social Change public programs initiative, which hosts diverse speakers and presenters on topics related to arts and gender equity. The museum’s globally recognized #WomenArtists social media campaign, which challenges fellow cultural institutions to make significant commitments to gender equity, has been cited as an inspiration for countless equity initiatives across numerous industries. Over her tenure, the museum’s collection has grown to more than 6,000 works across all mediums. A lifelong champion of women in the arts, Sterling has received National Orders of Merit from Brazil and Norway. She has been recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in Washington by Washingtonian magazine and is a recipient of ArtTable 30th Anniversary Honors as well as the President’s Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art. Sterling holds a B.A. in art and archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art and archaeology from Princeton University.

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