Symposium: MEPD25

Solmssen Court

The Museum Studies Department presents MEPD25

Thursday, March 24 at 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday, March 25, 2016

Join the Museum Studies department for a two-day symposium devoted to exploring key developments within the museum field of the past quarter century as we celebrate the 25th year of the Museum Exhibition Planning + Design program.

Background & Programming Overview

For over a quarter of century, the MFA program in Museum Exhibition Planning + Design has produced change agents in the museum field. Joined by the Museum Education and Museum Communication programs, the Museum Studies department has been responsive to, as well as a catalyst for, the seismic shifts that have occurred in the museum field worldwide.

Please join us for an evening of celebration followed by a morning of provocative conversation. Keynote speaker Marsha Semmel will launch the discussion Thursday evening with a contextualization of this quarter of a century, 1990 to 2015. The following morning, we will unpack some of the key contributors to this change. From external influences of the information age to the new mission-driven initiatives of community engagement, cultural agency and social justice.


Thursday, March 24

6:00 – 7:00 Cocktails, Fare and Gathering
7:00 – 7:10 Introduction by the UArts President David Yager
7:10 – 7:20 Special Award presented by Interim Provost Stephen Tarantal to Jane and Ed Bedno
7:20 – 7:30 Introduction to events, Visiting International Scholar/dedication, and Keynote Speaker for the evening – Polly McKenna-Cress
7:25 Dedication of Calligraphy Scroll to Department from Mr. Bing Yang
7:30 – 8:30 Keynote Speaker Marsha Semmel – 
"Twenty-five Years of Museum Exhibitions: Reflections on Inclusion, Interaction, and Interpretation"

Friday, March 25

8:30 – 9:00 Coffee, Food and Regroup
9:00 Presentation of Program/Department & Introduction of 4 Topics of Inclusion - PMC
9:15 Storytelling & Wonder for Inclusion – Presentations - Leslie Bedford
9:30 Making/Participation as Inclusion – Presentations - Peggy Monahan & Paul Orselli
9:45 Complex Diversity Inclusion – Presentations - Kenneth Davis & John Jackson/Xander Karkruff
10:00 Community Inclusion – Presentations - Erin Bernard & Ellen Owens
10:15 First Rotation
Table 1 Facilitators: Leslie Bedford & Polly McKenna-Cress
Table 2 Facilitators: Peggy Monahan & Paul Orselli
Table 3 Facilitators: Ken Davis, John Jackson, Xander Karkruff & Helen Shannon
Table 4 Facilitators: Erin Bernard, Ellen Owens & Joseph Gonzales
11:00 Break
11:15 Second Rotation
Table 1 Facilitators: Leslie Bedford
Table 2 Facilitators: Peggy Monahan, Paul Orselli & Polly McKenna-Cress
Table 3 Facilitators: Ken Davis, John Jackson, Xander Karkruff & Joseph Gonzales
Table 4 Facilitators: Erin Bernard, Ellen Owens & Helen Shannon
12:00–1:00 Break for Lunch and Documentation
1:00 – 3:00 Twenty-minute Each Share-out of 4 Tables

Download and print the schedule.

Keynote Speaker: Marsha L. Semmel

Marsha L. Semmel — Reflection on Inclusion over 25 years of Museum Exhibitions: Starts, Stops & Sustainability

Marsha L. Semmel, principal of Marsha Semmel Consulting >>, is an independent consultant working with foundations, museums, libraries, and other cultural and educational organizations on topics that include learning (including early learning), 21st century skills, strategic partnerships and collaborations, cultural policy, strategic planning, and leadership development.

Semmel is a frequent speaker and writer on cultural collaborations; 21st century skills and the role of new technologies in learning; community engagement; leadership for the future; and museums and public value. She authored the forewords to The Museum Experience Revisited by John H. Falk and Lynn D. Dierking and Leadership Matters by Anne W. Ackerson and Joan H. Baldwin; “Reflections on Museums and Change, 2012” in Museums and the Paradox of Change, Third Edition by Robert R. Janes and “Museums and Public Value: A U.S. Cultural Agency Example,” in Museums and Public Value: Creating Sustainable Futures, edited by Carol A Scott.

Facilitators / Provocateurs

Storytelling & Wonder for Inclusion

  • Leslie Bedford, PhD - Senior Consultant with the Museum Group
  • Polly McKenna-Cress, MEP+D ‘95 - Director, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design, UArts

Making, Doing & Participation as Inclusion

  • Peggy Monahan - Creative Director of Exhibit Development at NYSci, the New York Hall of Science.
  • Paul Orselli – President and Chief Instigator, Paul Orselli Workshop (POW!) specializes in museum exhibit design and development.

Complex Diversity Inclusion

  • Kenneth Davis, MEP+D ‘10 - Exhibit Planner at National Park Service
  • John Jackson, MEP+D ‘10 - Exhibition Designer at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Xander Karkruff, MEP+D ‘14 - Content Developer and Exhibition Designer, National Constitution Center
  • Helen Shannon, PhD - Director, Museum Education, UArts

Community Inclusion

  • Erin Bernard – Community Artist, Curator, Public Historian and Founder of the Philadelphia Public History Truck.
  • Joseph Gonzales, PhD - Director, Museum Communication, UArts
  • Ellen Owens, MEd ‘06 - Director of Learning Programs, Penn Museum


Thank you to the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia for sponsoring MEPD25.


Please Note: All net proceeds will go to support the Bedno & Bedno MS Thesis Travel Fund.


More information to come. In the interim, email with questions.

Hamilton Hall
320 S Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

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