Ricky Punzalan

Director, Museum Studies Program

Ricardo “Ricky” Punzalan is an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of  Information (UMSI).  Punzalan is a scholar of archives and digital curation. He studies community access and use of anthropological data in archives, as well as the digitization of ethnographic records held in libraries, archives, and museums. His research has established and shaped practices of virtual reunification and digital repatriation of cultural heritage collections. To do this work, he designs and carries out community-based, participatory research projects, which incorporate the perspectives of cultural heritage stakeholders beyond academic researchers. His scholarship has brought to the fore the critical challenges faced by underserved and Indigenous communities and has created dialogs between communities and cultural institutions. He co-directs ReConnect/ReCollect: Reparative Connections to Philippine Collections at the University of Michigan, a project that develops the framework for, and the practice of, reparative work for Philippine collections acquired by the university during the US colonial period. He is currently co-chair of the Archival Repatriation Committee of the Society of American Archivists and on the Board of Trustees of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. In July 2023, he will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists, the highest honor bestowed on individuals by the Society and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession. 

Punzalan earned his master in library and information science from the University of the Philippines Diliman and his PhD in information, with certificates in museum studies and science, technology, and society, from the University of Michigan. He began his career in the Philippines as an instructor at the University of the Philippines (UP) School of Library and Information Studies (2000-2006), served as a museum archivist at the UP Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center (2002-2005), and established the the Culion Leprosy Museum and Archives in 2005. Before joining the UMSI faculty, he taught at the University of Maryland (UMS) College of Information Studies (2013 to 2019) and directed the UMD Program in Museum Scholarship and Material Culture (2017 to 2019).

Email: [email protected]


Deirdre Hennebury

Associate Director, Museum Studies Program

Deirdre L.C. Hennebury is an interdisciplinary academic whose teaching and research resides in architecture history and theory, urban planning, and museology. Her research focuses on the use of cultural institutions, such as museums and libraries, to create signature landmarks that act as catalysts for economic growth and social improvement. Articles, chapters, book contributions, and conference papers cover a diverse terrain from exhibition design and pedagogy to museum architecture and its multiplier effects to the adaptive reuse of industrial buildings for cultural installations. After interning at Cranbrook Art Museum as a Museum Studies student in 2005, Deirdre returned to Cranbrook as the first Collections Fellow for the Center for Collections and Research in 2011 – 2012. Over the past decade, while teaching history, theory, and design, Deirdre has curated and developed exhibition programs for Cranbrook, the Detroit Center for Design and Technology, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, and the European Cultural Centre in Venice, among others. Deirdre is a member of the Museum Studies Certificate’s MSP04 cohort and holds degrees from Princeton University, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan.

Email: [email protected]



Amy Smola

Administrative Assistant, Museum Studies Program

Amy Smola joined the Museum Studies Program in 2010 as the Administrative Assistant after having worked for 17 years in healthcare administration at the University of Michigan Health System. Her role in Museum Studies includes tasks related to budget reconciliation, purchasing, financial systems, student administration, events coordination and promotion. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Psychology and a double minor in Literature and Art History, and she completed her Master’s in Library and Information Science at Wayne State University.  Amy also holds an administrative role with the Rackham Graduate School’s Graduate Student Program and Consultation Services.

Email: [email protected]