Jessica J. Luke, Director
What inspires me
I’m inspired by ideas, especially ideas that are different than my own. I’m inspired by questions, in particular questions that challenge assumptions and turn a situation on its head. I’m inspired by compassion, both individual acts of kindness and community-based work. I’m inspired by potential, the idea of what something could be and the contribution I can make to change. (And of course, my daily muse can be found in a well-made cappuccino.)
I come to museums through the lens of learning and education. When I started volunteering at my campus art museum as an undergraduate Art History student, I realized almost immediately that what I cared about more than the art itself was people’s interactions with the art. I have a master’s degree in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Maryland College Park. Before coming to the UW, I spent 15 years at the Institute for Learning Innovation, conducting evaluation and research with museums across the country to help them better understand their visitors, how and what they learn, and what that means for developing meaningful museum experiences.
My areas of specialization include research and evaluation; art museum education, critical and creative thinking; and youth development, family learning, and parent involvement.
Lamar, K. & Luke, J. (2016). Impacts of art museum-based dementia programming on participating care partners. Journal of Museum Education, 41 (3), 210-219.
Luke, J.J., & Garvin, Victoria. (2014). What do we need to know? The Children’s Museum Research Agenda Project. Hand-to-Hand, Fall 2014, 3, 13.
Luke, J.J., & Ancelet, J.E. (2014). The role of evaluation in re-imagining the art museum. Journal of Museum Education, 39 (2), 197-206.
Tezcan-Akmehmet, K., & Luke, J.J. (2013). Museums and parent involvement: A landscape review. Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship, 28(5), 491-507.
Luke, J.J., & McCreedy, D. (2012). Breaking down barriers: Museum as broker of home/school collaboration. Visitor Studies, 15(1), 98-113.
Luke, J.J., Yalowitz, S., & Palmquist, S. (2012). Evaluation in action: Getting the most out of your evaluators. In R. Bonney, L. Goodyear, & K. Ellenbogen (Eds.), Principal investigator’s guide to managing evaluation in informal science education projects. Visitor Studies Association and Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education.
Wilson O’Donnell, Associate Director
What inspires me
When I was in graduate school for museum studies, students were arbitrarily lumped into two groups: those who wanted to work with people in their museum careers and those who wanted to work with collections. I have always wanted to do both! Thus, I am inspired by the talented and awesome folks who I work with every day—faculty, staff, peers, community members—and especially by our students who push themselves to the limits of their abilities while in the Program. I am equally inspired by objects, generally the art and craft of ordinary, often unidentified, artists and artisans from America’s past. I find that the study of such material reinforces values important to my work as teacher, advisor, mentor and administrator, including honesty, creativity, commitment and service. Hopefully, both sources of inspiration will continue to influence and transform my practice within the Program.
I have been fortunate to have engaged in two distinct but complementary careers. Having completed a BA in anthropology and an MA in museum studies, I spent nearly thirty years working for museums on both the east and west coasts. I began my career as curator of the Cumberland County Historical Society in Pennsylvania and later specialized in administration and management as the director of the Monmouth County Historical Association and the New Jersey Historical Society in New Jersey and the Museum of History and Industry here in Seattle, Washington. I was also involved in consulting work in the areas of collection research, exhibit development and strategic planning. Opportunities to teach or lecture were common throughout my museum career.
In 2001, I was presented with an opportunity to teach part-time in the Museology Graduate Program at the University of Washington. It was an exciting opportunity and I was looking for a new challenge in my life at that time. Part-time lecturing led to full-time teaching and by 2004, I was appointed Acting Director of the Program and charged with preparing the program for its ten-year review in 2006. As a result of that review, a new Director was appointed in 2007 and I became the Associate Director and Lecturer for the Program as I remain to this day.
In terms of my teaching responsibilities, my areas of specialization include various aspects of administration, exhibitions and museum history. In terms of my research passions, my areas of specialization include American decorative arts in general and American furniture in particular, as well as American folk art. Currently, my American folk art obsessions are antique game boards and ‘tramp art’.
Most of my publications have been connected to exhibitions, such as Thus United Free: New Jersey in the Age of the Constitution, Exhibition Catalog, New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey, 1987, or consulting work, such as Project U230 Findings Report, Paragon Research Associates, 2011.
What inspires me
I am an eternal optimist. I steadfastly believe in the wisdom and the goodness of people. I am inspired by the difference that can be made by one person, one action, one idea, one moment of listening. In academia, I am inspired by our students and by the tremendous energy and range of ideas, the intellect and compassion they bring to museum practice. Outside academia, I find continual renewal, respite, and inspiration from the mountains and open waters that surround and define the Seattle area. I am inspired by questions, particularly ones that start with ‘why’ or ‘what if’ or ‘could we’. I’m inspired by opportunity, which to me, defines what learning and graduate education is all about.
I started working in a museum through an assistantship while in graduate school and the experience jolted all my ideas about learning and teaching. The direction of my career and my life suddenly veered off course and led me into 3 decades of inspiring, fun and challenging work in museums and academia. My doctoral research blended my interests in learning theory and use of technologies in museums. I was the Curator of Interpretation at the Michigan State University Natural and Cultural History Museum where I designed educational programs and exhibits and taught courses in educational technology, museum education and a few other areas. In 2007 I came to University of Washington as the Director of the Museology Graduate Program and taught classes in social change, research design, evaluation, and other topics around public engagement. I stepped down from the position of Director in 2015 and I now teach and advise full time for the program.
My areas of expertise are continually expanding while also being challenged by the changing nature of our practice and our world and hence, I am continually humbled and challenged by how much I don’t know. My professional interests and attention have focused on the intersections between learning, objects of authenticity, social interactions and social good. My education is in educational psychology and my educational experiences have focused on non-traditional settings including teaching in a bush school in Alaska, working with adult education programs, and museum education. My current activities focus on ways museums address societal questions and issues, the use of dialogue-based programs to understand sensitive or complex topics, and professional development of museum professionals.
I am the founding editor of the peer-reviewed journal Museums & Social Issues which was probably the first journal in the US that focused on the ways museums are engaging with communities around the complex and enduring questions of today. I was also the editor of the journal of the Visitor Studies Association for a number of years. My own writing and professional presentations focus on ways museums engage in social change. A few examples:
- Morrissey, K. & Johnson, A. (2014) Where’s the M in STEM when it comes to Social Issues?, Informalscience.org
- Morrissey, K. & Satwicz, T. (2011) Public Curation: From Trend to Research Base in Adair, B. & Filene, B. (Eds.), Letting Go? Historical Authority in a User-Generated World, Left Coast Press.
- Can We Talk? Museums Hosting Tough Conversations and Power of Dialogue Programs: Examining Goals and Impacts, (2016) panel presentations at the American Alliance of Museums annual conference, Washington DC
Angie Ong, Lecturer
What inspires me
My community. I’ve lived in Seattle for over 15 years and have seen it change a lot in that time. Yet despite its growing pains, Seattle has fostered vibrant neighborhoods of people who care about where they live and improving the lives of others. I have experienced this first-hand in my work as a volunteer at One Brick, the Seattle Animal Shelter, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), and most recently at the Woodland Park Zoo. It’s wonderful to live in a city where passionate people give back to their community in so many ways. And I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to those efforts both personally and professionally.
After spending 15 years in consumer and technology marketing, I decided to pursue my lifelong passion for learning, teaching, and storytelling. I have since worked across many museum disciplines including fundraising, collections management, and exhibition development, and settled on the field of audience research and evaluation. My philosophy has been to understand all the components of a museum organization so that I can best serve it.
I was formerly a research associate at the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) and evaluation manager at Pacific Science Center. I am the immediate past-chair for the American Alliance of Museum’s Committee on Audience Research & Evaluation (CARE) and member of the Visitor Studies Association (VSA) and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Over the past decade, I have served many roles in the audience research and evaluation field—as practitioner, advocate, and teacher. I have lead and contributed to numerous evaluation projects as well as multi-year research studies funded by NSF, IMLS, NASA and NIH. I have designed, developed, and implemented evaluation studies, facilitated project planning, conducted evaluation capacity-building workshops, and supported grant-writing efforts.
I hold a Master’s degree in Museum Studies from The George Washington University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada.
I have taught with the Museology Graduate Program for the past five years and focus primarily on courses in the program’s Specialization in Evaluation. My classes include Introduction to Museum Evaluation, Evaluation Project I, and the yearlong Evaluation Project II courses.
In addition to being a Museology faculty member, I am the principal at Spotlight Impact LLC, a consulting firm that provides audience research and evaluation services and support to museums and organizations in Seattle and across the US.
What inspires me
Our Museology community. I am constantly inspired by the amazing work that our faculty, students and alumni do on a daily basis.
I was born and raised in a small, but cosmopolitan town in central Mexico called Tepoztlán. My first job in high school was being an apprentice stained glass artist. I learned on the job by making a Tiffany style lamp with over 800 pieces! During college I had an amazing opportunity to study in Kenya and Tanzania with a wonderful group of 21 fellow Lewis and Clark students.
After a bit of post-college wandering, I landed in Seattle with the goal of studying Museology at the University of Washington. I still remember Wilson telling us in the admin class that many of us would gravitate to leadership and administrative positions. I didn’t believe him until I had the opportunity to become the first full-time staff member in the Museology Graduate Program. After a decade of tremendous change, I continue to enjoy the challenge and am inspired by our growing network of alumni and faculty working to make our communities stronger.
What inspires me: People who are passionate about what they do, especially all things related to museology and/or education. After spending several years as a PTA board member, I am inspired by people who work or volunteer at schools and organizations like museums that provide learning opportunities in and out of the classroom.
Background: I grew up in the Spokane area and moved to Seattle in 1984 where I received a BA in Political Science from the UW. I worked for 11 years at UW Medicine advancement, supporting staff with annual giving/major gift efforts. Since 2008, I have worked at UW Museology where I very much enjoy supporting our staff and instructors and helping students. Every year I look forward to welcoming a new cohort to the UW.
What inspires me
I am always inspired by the creativity and curiosity of students of all ages. I love the excitement of someone learning something new, discovering a new passion, or the satisfaction of taking your interests to the next of level of expertise.
I have a BA in Anthropology and a BA in Music from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. I have an MA in Museology from the University of Washington.
I have worked in museum education, youth programming, and event planning prior to my role as a graduate advisor in the program. I now advise on internship opportunities, course selection, and career preparedness for Museology students.