Mike Adams in a blue jacket and tie with a lighter blue shirt and standing in front of a blurred background that displays a series of flags

Museum Studies (MA)

Mike Adams is a museum and nonprofit leader with wide-ranging experiences at cultural institutions throughout the Philadelphia region.


Mike Adams currently serves as director, museum and audience engagement, at Hagley Museum and Library, in Wilmington, Delaware, where he leads staff across multiple departments, including Collection and Exhibitions, Education and Interpretation, Visitor Services, Marketing and Design, Membership, and Special Events, in achieving the mission to “inspire all people to be innovative in their own lives.”

Adams has held a variety of roles in the museum field, with a primary focus on developing educational programs and resources and creating museum-teacher learning communities. He served as director of Education at the National Constitution Center and as the first education coordinator at Historic Philadelphia Inc. and has consulted on museum education projects for institutions throughout the U.S.

In addition to those positions, Adams has held key leadership roles, including president of the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia, president of Philadelphia’s Historic Neighborhood Consortium, and founding co-chair of the Young Friends of Independence National Historical Park, among other posts.

Adams has presented at nearly 50 conferences organized by museum and education professional organizations, including the American Alliance of Museums, Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums Annual Conference, Small Museums Association, American Association for State and Local History, National Council for the Social Studies, College Board AP Annual Conference, Middle States Council for the Social Studies, and International Society for Technology in Education Conference, among other events. He is a contributing author for the book Bringing Teachers to the History Museum: A Guide to Facilitating Teacher Professional Development (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022)—a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Adams has taught multiple courses in UArts’ Museum Studies program, including Museum History and Theory, Museum Learning, Collaborative Exhibition Project, and others since joining  UArts’ faculty in 2018.


At Hagley Museum and Library, Adams 

  • served as director for all aspects of museum operations, institutional communications, community engagement, and major initiatives at the AAM–accredited, 235-acre historic site with 70,000-plus museum collections objects.

  • leads a team of 26 full- and 90 part-time staff across two divisions, the individual departments of which include Collections and Exhibits, Mechanical Exhibits, Education and Interpretation, Visitor Services, Group Tours, Museum Store, Membership, Marketing, Design, Rentals, and Internal Events.

  • directed the planning, development, and installation of on-site and traveling exhibitions, including an exhibition of 19th century patent models at University of California, San Diego, in 2021.

  • led the museum through a two-year recovery process after extensive damage caused by historic flooding during Hurricane Ida in 2021.

At the National Constitution Center, he 

  • served in key development roles for developing and implementing the center’s civic education initiatives, including the Teacher Advisory Board, teacher professional development programs, the Classroom Exchange Program, and online programs and resources.

  • developed a range of teacher professional development programs, including Summer Institutes, in-school and online workshops, on-site programs at the center, and other formats, increasing teacher professional development programs by 380% in four years and reaching 7,000 teachers.

  • collaborated with leading constitutional scholars on professional development programs, as well as with partners with key stakeholders, including the College Board; the School District of Philadelphia; the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Education; and countless schools, museums, cultural institutions, and other educational entities.

Other experience

  • Adams served as the first education coordinator at Historic Philadelphia Inc. (2012–2015) , where he oversaw the development, facilitation, assessment, and outreach for innovative field trip programs in Philadelphia’s historic district.

  • As president of the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia (2018–2023), he supported the region’s museum professionals through various initiatives, including a microgrant program to encourage innovation through low-cost, high-impact projects at museums in the Philadelphia region.

  • As president of Philadelphia’s Historic Neighborhood Consortium (2016–2020), led a consortium of 20 nonprofits to promote the use of cultural resources in Philadelphia’s historic district through collaborative projects.

  • He served as a classroom educator in the Council Rock School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, from 2009–2012 and supported extracurricular theater programs through multiple productions.

Awards & Accolades

For his efforts, Adams has been recognized numerous times. 

  • He was honored with Friends of Independence Volunteer of the Year Award, named to Billy Penn’s “40 under 40,” and was the 2020 recipient of the Small Museum Association Award.