MSP Director transition message from Kerstin
Please join me in welcoming Ricky Punzalan as new director of the Museum Studies Program starting July 1st.
Ricky will bring his extensive expertise in museum studies and critical archive studies to bear on the program, and I am just delighted to be able to pass along the directorship into his capable hands. Ricky, who received his PhD in Information from U-M, is currently an Associate Professor at the School of Information after having taught and directed the Program in Museum Scholarship and Material Culture at the University of Maryland for several years.
More recently, he has served as the co-PI of the interdisciplinary Collaboratory “ReConnect/ReCollect. Reparative Connections to Philippine Collections at the University of Michigan”. The Provost funded project has developed the framework for, and the practice of, reparative curatorial and community focused work for Philippine collections acquired by the university during the US colonial period. A graduate of our own Museum Studies Program and a long-standing member of its steering committee, Ricky brings familiarity, experience, and new perspectives to the directorship. The future of MSP is in great hands.
As we mark this transition, I once more want to express my thanks to all those who have lent their support to our program and initiatives over the past three years. I pass on the baton humbled and grateful for all the opportunities and relationships my tenure as MSP director has afforded me. When I stepped into the role in 2020, we were confronted with the daunting challenges of the pandemic, which forced us to move our entire teaching, programming, and even our hallmark MSP visiting scholar online. With the invaluable support of Deirdre Hennebury as the program’s new Associate Director and Amy Smola, MSP’s expert administrator, we invented a virtual MSP program on the spot. Yet, even though we spent most of that year online, we forged new connections across campus and deepened our discussions around decolonial museology. As we slowly moved out of the pandemic, we were able to welcome a terrific series of visiting scholars and museum directors back to campus in person –among them Professor Bénédicte Savoy (Paris/Berlin), Lisa Young Lee (National Public Housing Museum), and Diana Abouali (Arab American National Museum), to name just a few. As reinvigorated the program’s futures, we also took the opportunity to look at its past: in March, we were able to celebrate the 20th anniversary of MSP with a wonderful array of alumni, supporters, colleagues, and friends – including all past and present directors, some of whom traveled long distances to join us and mark the occasion.
My heartfelt thanks for making all this not only possible but also invigorating and transformative go to Deirdre and Amy, who supported my work in the most collegial ways imaginable. If I am confident in the strong future of MSP, it is also because the program is in their good hands, benefiting from their commitment, knowledge, and experience. Lastly, I’d like to extend my gratitude to our students, who in so many ways make up our core community. I can only thank the three successive cohorts whom I had the privilege to teach and mentor. Our explorations of often sensitive and difficult museum studies topics have been consistently exciting to me, and I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that I have learned as much from you as I may have taught you. Please keep in touch! – Kerstin Barndt