Our Board

We are governed by the Board of Directors elected by the members of the Alliance.

AAM 2018 Slate of Candidates for Board of Directors

AAM’s Board of Directors has nominated eight distinguished professionals from the museum field and beyond as candidates to serve on the Board with terms that begin in May 2018. Five are current Board members and three would be newcomers to the Board.

AAM’s bylaws allow additional nominations to be submitted by petition; the deadline for this is March 7, 2018. To find out more about this option, please email the Board Nominating Committee. The final decision will be announced at AAM’s 2018 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, May 6-9 in Phoenix, Arizona, and the new board members will begin their terms immediately following that meeting.

Learn more about the candidates:

  Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko
President and CEO
Abbe Museum
Nominated for at-large position, 2nd term

Working in museums for over 20 years, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko has been a museum director since 2001. Prior to joining the Abbe Museum as President & CEO in 2009, Cinnamon was the director of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana where she led the organization to the National Medal for Museum Service in 2008. 

A passionate advocate for museums – their successes and their needs – and small museum expert, she is a frequent presenter at national museum meetings and is often asked to comment on national museum issues. Cinnamon served as a treasurer for the American Association for State and Local History (2012-2014) and was the founding chair of their Small Museums Committee. She also serves as a member of the Conservation Assessment Program Advisory Committee for Heritage Preservation and as a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.

 In 2004, the Indiana Historical Society published Cinnamon’s first book The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection. She is the co-editor of the Small Museum Toolkit, a six book series, published by Altamira Press in 2012. In addition to editing, she authored the chapters on strategic planning and fundraising tactics. She is currently co-authoring the second edition of Museum Administration.

 Cinnamon holds a BA in anthropology and art history from Purdue University and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) MA program in anthropology with a specialization in museum studies. She is a 2004 graduate of the Seminar for Historical Administration.

  Robert M. Davis
Museum Consultant
Nominated for Vice Chair

Dr. Robert (Bert) Davis is  the Principal of DRMD Strategies, LLC.  Prior to this, he served as the President & CEO of the Dubuque County Historical Society (DCHS) and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (NMRM&A).  Prior to coming to Dubuque, Dr. Davis was the President & CEO of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM), at the Milwaukee County Zoo for nearly eleven years. He has recently been distinguished as a major fundraiser in the Midwest by securing a 6.7-million-dollar donation to ZSM on behalf of the hippopotamus exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo to date this is the largest foundation gift to the zoo.

In 2001 Dr. Davis joined the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago as the Vice President of Education. He provided visionary leadership overseeing all functions of the department working in collaboration with other scientific, academic and conservation organizations. Before joining Lincoln Park Zoo, Dr. Davis was the Director of Education and External Affairs at Zoo Atlanta.  Prior to his working at Zoo Atlanta, he was the Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer and Smithsonian Research Fellow in the Department of Animal Health at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park in Washington, DC.

Dr. Davis currently lives in Asbury, Iowa with his wife Nancy. In his leisure time he enjoys golf, tennis, cigars and reading. Dr. Davis has been featured in several journals, books and press articles; The Dubuque area Chamber of Commerce, The Telegraph Herald Newspaper, The Milwaukee Business Journal, M Magazine, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I Want to be a Veterinarian, The World Wildlife Fund’s: Wildlife For Sale Educators Guide, Zoolife, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Florida Wildlife Magazine, the Smithsonian Torch Newsletter and JET Magazine. He has appeared on Chicago, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Washington, DC television stations (FOX, ABC, WGN, and NBC) and Radio Disney.

  Kippen de Alba Chu
Executive Director 
Iolani Palace
Nominated for Chair

Since August 2006, Kippen has been the executive director for Iolani Palace, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization based in Honolulu, HI tasked with preserving and perpetuating the former royal residence of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He also worked for the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for several years before becoming office manager / chief of staff for state Representative Bertha Kawakami, who represented the islands of West Kauai and Niihau. Kippen left state government after 16 years to become the assistant executive director of the Hawaii Insurers Council, a trade association of property and casualty insurers from 2004 to 2006.

A graduate of Punahou School, Kippen earned his B.A. in international business from the American University of Paris, France. While in Europe, he also spent two years in Italy studying language, art, and history in Urbino as well as at the University of Bologna. He received his executive M.B.A. from the University of Hawaii in 2013, and is currently in the Omidyar Fellows Program (Cohort III).

Kippen currently serves on the board of directors for the following organizations: American Alliance of Museums, Western Museums Association, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Friends of Hawaii Robotics, and Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations.

  Nathan Richie
Golden History Museum
Nominated for at-large position

Nathan Richie is director of Golden History Museums in Golden, Colorado. Nathan has 17 years experience in the museum field as a curator, educator, collections manager, and director. Nathan has a strong passion for the transformative experiences that museums offer their audiences and for the important role institutions play in their communities both as cultural assets and economic engines. Nathan holds a BA in American History from Colorado State University and an MA in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, CA.

Prior to Golden, Nathan served as Director of Exhibits and Programs at the McCormick Freedom Museum in Chicago and as Curator of Collections and Programs at the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana.  He has served as chair of American Alliance of Museums Professional Network for Education (AAM-PN EdCom) and presently as second vice-chair for AAM-PN Leadership and Management.


  Ruth Shelly
Executive Director
Portland Children’s Museum
Nominated for at-large position, 2nd term 
Ruth Shelly, Executive Director of Portland Children’s Museum, leads a learning complex that consists of a children’s museum, private preschool, public K-5 charter school, and research center with a total staff of 37 full-time and 28 part-time employees; $3.8 million annual budget; and more than 313,000 visitors annually. Ruth is a lifelong museum professional who started in exhibit design and moved to administration, serving in art, history, natural history, and science museums--as well as an aquarium--before entering the children’s museum field. She has served on museum association boards at the state, regional, and national level, having recently completed two terms with the Association of Children’s Museums. In her present role, Ruth is at the nexus of informal, formal, and professional learning, and she is particularly interested in the role that museums can play in shaping the future of educational systems in the United States. Prior to moving to Portland in 2013, Ruth served as Executive Director of the Madison Children’s Museum during its move to a renovated historical building, which became the first LEED-certified museum in Wisconsin, and a 2011 recipient of the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

  Susana Smith Bautista
Executive Director
Pasadena Museum of California Art
Nominated for at-large position 

Susana Smith Bautista is a professional in the fields of museums and the arts, technology and digital culture. She received her Ph.D. in Communication as a Provost Fellow from the University of Southern California (USC), and her Masters degree in Art History/ Museum Studies, graduating Phi Kappa Phi also from USC. Susana has over 25 years of experience working in the arts in Greece, New York, and Los Angeles as an art critic, curator, gallery associate, and executive director of the Mexican Cultural Institute, editorial director of LatinArt.com, and Arts and Culture Commissioner for the city of Pasadena. 

Susana was director of public engagement at USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, and served as the museum’s interim deputy director as it transitioned to become part of USC in 2013. Her expertise as an art historian focuses on modern and contemporary Chicano, Latino and Latin American art, and she served on the Board of Directors of the Latino Museum in Los Angeles. She was on the research team for the Gilbert "Magu" Lujan exhibition at UC Irvine Art Gallery, and the advisory board for the Murales Rebeldes exhibition at La Plaza de Cultura y Arte, both part of the Getty Initiative, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. Her research also focuses on the changing role of museums in the digital age, the distributed museum experience, and most recently the digital literacy needs of museums.

Susana has published numerous articles and book chapters on these topics, and her 2013 book published by Alta Mira press is entitled Museums in the Digital Age: Changing Meanings of Place, Community, and Culture. She taught Communication at USC and Arts Management at Claremont Graduate University, is a peer reviewer for AAM’s Museum Assessment Program. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Westridge School, on the Board of Directors of Clazzical Notes, and volunteers for Adelante Youth Alliance where she mentors young Latina girls. Susana currently serves as executive director for the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

  Stephanie Stebich
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Nominated for at-large position, 2nd term 

Stephanie Stebich is responsible for the nation’s premier collection of American art and major exhibition, research, publication, education and digital-media programs at the museum and its Renwick Gallery. She was named director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in January 2017 and began work April 3. She also is a trustee of the American Alliance of Museums and chairs its global steering committee.

Before coming to Washington, D.C., Stebich had been executive director of the Tacoma Art Museum since 2005. Under her leadership, the museum underwent a major renovation that doubled its exhibition space; launched a capital campaign with a goal of $17 million and raised more than $37 million; and added endowed curator, educator and fellow positions. She oversaw the development and implementation of the museum’s strategic plan, as well as a 10-year collecting strategy. 

Stebich was assistant director of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from 2001 to 2004 and assistant director at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1995 to 2001. She was previously a trustee of the Association of Art Museum Directors from 2010 to 2012, where she led and implemented its diversity initiative as chair of the membership committee.

Stebich earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from Columbia University and a master’s degree with a concentration in modern art from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She has a certificate in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University and is a graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute in Los Angeles. She was a fellow at the Guggenheim Museum and has studied at the University College London. She is fluent in German and French.

  Karol Wight
Corning Museum of Glass

Nominated for at-large position  

Karol Wight became executive director and curator of ancient and Islamic glass at The Corning Museum of Glass in August 2011. In January of 2015, she was promoted to the position of President and Executive Director of the Museum and is now responsible for oversight of all Museum activities.

 A specialist in ancient glass, she has curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions on ancient art and glass, including Ennion and his Legacy: Mold-Blown Glass from Ancient Rome (Corning Museum of Glass, 2015), Life on a String: 35 Centuries of the Glass Bead (Corning Museum of Glass, 2013), and Molten Color: Glassmaking in Antiquity (J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, ongoing). She co-curated the exhibition Reflecting Antiquity with former museum executive director Dr. David Whitehouse, which was shown both at the Getty Villa and The Corning Museum of Glass in 2008-2009.

 Wight received her doctorate in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was senior curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum before coming to Corning.