ReStorying the Past: Perspectives from the Center for Restorative History

When: Wednesday, September 21, 2022 - 12-1:30pm ET

Guests: Tsione Wolde-Michael and Nancy Bercaw

Host: Tarek Maassarani


What does it mean to engage with historical redress and restorative justice in curatorial work? What role do historically harmed communities have in this process? What challenges and potentials do national museum spaces pose? Using the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's new Center for Restorative History (CRH) as a case study, this talk will discuss new approaches to museum practice that can radically redefine relationships to challenging histories, untold stories, and impacted communities.

Guest Bios

Maisha Winn

Tsione Wolde-Michael (she/her/hers) is a Curator of African American Social Justice History at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History where she also serves as Director for the Center for Restorative History. Her work focuses on redress and restorative justice in museums through innovative approaches to community engagement, collections management, cultural heritage, and exhibitions. Her international work in Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, and the United Kingdom has focused on collaborating with local art and public history institutions to reinterpret colonial collections. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies from Macalester College and her MA in History from Harvard University. 

Maisha Winn

Nancy Bercaw (she/her/hers) is a curator of Political History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where she also serves as deputy director for the Center for Restorative History. Her work focuses on creating space for histories excluded from our national narrative. She joined the museum after serving as the lead curator of the landmark Slavery and Freedom exhibition at the National Museum of African American History and Culture where the team implemented community engaged curatorial practice to display a difficult history resting at the nation's core.  At NMAH, she co-curated the exhibitions Girlhood (It’s complicated) and Reckoning with Remembrance: History, Injustice, and the Murder of Emmett Till; founded the Undocumented Organizing Collecting Initiative; and co-produced Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like. She received her BA in history from Oberlin College and her MA and PhD in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.