Hawaiʻi Museums Association 2021 Annual Conference
April 16 - 17
Below you will find bios for each of our presenters and moderators. We will continue updating this page as our panelists continue to send in materials. Mahalo ā nui loa (Thank you) for supporting HMA and participating in our conference!
Panel 1: Keynote Presentation
Rebecca McGinnis is the Senior Managing Educator for Accessibility at The Met. and her colleagues are internationally recognized for their pioneering programs for people with disabilities, especially for blind and partially sighted people. These include Seeing Through Drawing, an innovative class for people who are blind or partially sighted led by teaching artists with various levels of vision; as well as Met Escapes, for people with dementia and their care partners; and Met Signs, a training program for Deaf people to become museum guides and regular programming in American Sign Language. Awards include the Lighthouse Guild’s Good Neighbor Award (2016), the American Foundation for the Blind’s Access Award (2014), the LEAD Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership (2011), and the American Council of the Blind Achievement Award in Audio Description for Museums (2011). Rebecca’s publications include “Islands of Stimulation: Perspectives on the Museum Experience, Present and Future” in The Multisensory Museum: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Touch, Sound, Smell, Memory, and Space, ed. Nina Levent and Alvaro Pascual Leone, Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. Rebecca co-convened with Art Beyond Sight the Multimodal Approaches to Learning conference (2005, 2007, 2009, 2012) and was a founding member and co-chair of the Museum Access Consortium (2000-2012). She is adjunct faculty in Johns Hopkins University’s Museum Studies MA program, where she teaches Accessibility in the Museum. She holds MAs in Art History and Museum Studies and is a doctoral candidate in Cognitive Psychology at Teachers College Columbia University.
Panel 2: Accessibility & Disability in Museums
Panel 3: The North Shore Ethnographic Field School: A Conversation on Place-based Storytelling in Waialua
Melvin “Moki” Labra is a kupa of Waialua and community consultant for the North Shore Ethnographic Field School. He grew up on the shores of Kapaeloa (or Kapapaeloa), honing his skills to become a skilled fisherman and an award-winning lei maker. As a community consultant, he guides the field school in many ways, welcoming students by sharing knowledge about Waialua, planning field trips, leading and instructing by example through protocol with oli, and directing group reflections.
Panel 4: Removing Financial Barriers with Museums for All
Panel 5: Digital Access through Apps and Other Platforms
Hadley Andersen (moderator) is currently the Educational Specialist at Lyon Arboretum. She is passionate about informal education and science communication through informal institutions such as museums, zoos, and science centers. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and English Literature, Hadley held education positions at Mission San Luis Living History Site in Tallahassee and the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida and before moving to Hawai’i eight years ago. She also worked as a Senior Science Educator at the Bishop Museum.
Audrey Blair is the Public Programs Manager at the Kona Historical Society. In her role she creates and manages both in-person and virtual programming for the Kona community and beyond. As a response to the 2020 Pandemic Audrey launched a virtual Donkey Story Time and a virtual School Field Trip program, reaching over 200 students from 3 islands in the program’s first month. Drawn to connect more deeply with her Portuguese heritage, Audrey first traveled to Kona in 2018 to research her family’s history in the Jean Greenwell Library and Archives. Prior to her work at Kona Historical Society she was the Operations Manager for Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley, California. In June 2019, Audrey completed her formal education receiving a Master of Arts in Museum Studies with a specialization in Education and Interpretation and an MBA from John F. Kennedy University.
Panel 6: Philanthropy Work—From Grantmakers to Grantseekers
Mandy Kirchgessner has worked for museums, zoos, and nonprofits across the country for over 15 years. By way of her roles as an informal educator, she has learned how to cultivate support and secure grants in order to stabilize and grow program opportunities. She is passionate about the positive impacts that informal education experiences make on learners of all ages, and is eager to help other Museum professionals find ways to bring their program visions to life.
Mary Ramsay has worked in donor and foundation relations in museums and higher education for over 20 years. She came into grant writing 40 years ago as a dancer seeking grants for a small dance company in Pittsburgh, PA. Mary was a student in the social justice education graduate program at the University of Massachusetts and is trained as a social justice mediator. She has facilitated workshops addressing white privilege and embodied justice and tries to bring this lens to the fundraising work that she does.
Panel 7: Access During a Pandemic
Panel 8: On the Horizon of 2021: Future Projects and Directions
Nikki Cristobal currently serves as the Executive Director of Kamāwaelualani Corp. She was born & raised on Kaua’i. She earned a double Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Washington State University. She is a Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Administration and Policy Studies with a focus on Social and Comparative Analysis, specializing in Indigenous epistemologies, place-based education, critical race and gender studies, and equity and justice studies. She is an active member of the community as a member of The Zonta Club of Kaua’i and as part of the Hale ‘Ōpio Board of Directors. Her skill sets include grant writing, research, and community engagement. The entire reason Nikki pursued her education was to use her knowledge and skills to give back to the community and lands that raised her.