Michelle Joan Wilkinson is a curator at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, where she is expanding the museum’s collections in architecture and design.

She co-curated two inaugural NMAAHC exhibitions: A Century in the Making: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture and A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond. In 2018, she served as lead organizer for the museum’s three day symposium, “Shifting the Landscape: Black Architects and Planners, 1968 to Now.”

Prior to NMAAHC, Wilkinson spent six years as director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture. She has also worked at the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. As a fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2012, Wilkinson completed a short-term residency at the Design Museum in London. Her research on architectural heritage in the Anglophone Caribbean has been presented to international audiences in Suriname, England, India, and the United States. Wilkinson’s most recent efforts explore issues of representation in architectural renderings.

Wilkinson holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD from Emory University.

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