Public programs facilitate dialogue between academics and professionals, informing scholarship and strengthening practice.

Multiple day conferences, year-long colloquia, individual lectures, “conversations” between individuals, hands-on workshops, and Museums at Noon talks featuring our graduate students all contribute to the remarkable richness of MSP offerings.

Video recordings of some MSP lectures are archived for viewing in our Media Gallery.

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Time to Evolve:  The Histories and Futures of Two University Natural History Museums 

December 5, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

A conversation between:

Julie Stein – Executive Director, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington

Amy Harris – Director, Museum of Natural History, U-M


University natural history collections were central to the scientific enterprise in the 19th century. Today, these collections document change over time, and play critical roles in research, education, and cultural heritage. However, many museums are under-utilized by their local communities.

In the 21st century, campus and museum leaders must rethink the role of the University Museum. As public appetite for engagement and transparency increases, University Museums are in a unique position to act as a “front door” to academia by offering access to collections and opportunities to connect with the process of scientific research. Some universities are now making significant investments in upgrading their natural history museums, including the University of Washington and the University of Michigan.


Julie K. Stein, Executive Director of the Burke Museum of Nature and Culture at the University of Washington and Amy Harris, Director of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History will share  stories of their institutions’ development over time, with particular emphasis on the opportunities presented by their new facilities, both opening in 2019.


Julie K. Stein was appointed Executive Director of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in 2005.  Previously she served as the Museum’s Curator of Archaeology.  She also maintains a professor position in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, and was Divisional Dean of Research, Computing, and Facilities for the College of Arts and Sciences.  Stein received her MA and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota and her BA degree from Western Michigan University.  Her research interests are in geoarchaeology, especially studies involving Northwest Coast shell middens.  She has excavated archaeological sites on Washington’s San Juan Islands since 1983, and she continues to collaborate on research projects involving geoarchaeology.


Since 2002, Amy Harris has served as the Director of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, where she was previously Associate Director and Development Officer. Harris received her BA from Cornell and MA from the University of Michigan. Before joining the Museum of Natural History in 1996, she worked at the Art Institute of Chicago and then became the Development Director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival (1986-1994). As museum director, Harris is currently overseeing the planning and development of the new U-M Museum of Natural History, slated to open fully in fall 2019.  Harris’ decades of commitment to the Museum and her leadership in this new project were recently honored by the establishment of the Amy Harris Director’s Strategic Fund, a sizeable endowment that will support the Museum’s projects in perpetuity.


Co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Bicentennial and the UM Museum of Natural History


Stein and Harris Announcement


December 5, 2017
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


U-M Museum of Art, Helmut Stern Auditorium
525 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website