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Timothy Anne Burnside

Timothy Anne Burnside is a Museum Specialist in Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). She works closely with object donors to build collections around music & performing arts and contemporary cultural history. Using those collections she develops exhibitions and programs that offer complex representations of history and cultural expression. In addition to collection and exhibition development, her background includes curatorial research, archival work, collections management, and program production. Timothy began her career with the Smithsonian at the National Museum of American History in 2003 where she worked in the Archives Center and Division of Cultural History, then launched that museum’s hip-hop collecting initiative in 2006. In 2009 she joined what was then a small NMAAHC team to work on an exhibition about the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York that toured the country from 2010-2012. Timothy collected objects and developed content for multiple NMAAHC inaugural exhibitions, including Musical Crossroads, Sports: Leveling the Playing Field, Taking the Stage, Cultural Expressions, and The Power of Place. Her work encourages museum professionals and visitors alike to expand ideas about what kinds of stories museums can and should include, and what kinds of objects can be used to tell those stories. She also explores how museums can be spaces of equity and inclusion, and how to successfully navigate those spaces while working with contributing communities. Timothy regularly presents at conferences across the country, speaks with college and graduate students about opportunities in the museum field, and serves on the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. She received her B.A. in History, English, and Music Performance from Lawrence University, and M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.