OMA Pilots Year-Long "Empowering Museum Voices" Fellowship Program

The Ohio Museums Association has announced the participants of their pilot year of the Empowering Museum Voices Fellowship Program, which started in January of 2024 and will continue through December 31, 2024.

This fellowship connects OMA with 10 Fellows from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the museum field due to historic exclusion. This includes, but is not limited to, the BIPOC community, people with disabilities, Appalachian and rural communities, lower income communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and justice-impacted citizens.

“This fellowship will not only provide access to OMA professional development resources for our Fellows, but also provides a platform for our Fellows to share valuable feedback and input as to how our organization can better engage and serve their communities,” said Johnna McEntee, Executive Director of OMA. “The Ohio Museums Association is excited to launch the pilot year of this fellowship program, and build this fellowship into the future. We are especially looking forward to learning from the Fellows’ experience and insights.”

Through generous grant support from Ohio Humanities, and the Ohio Arts Council via their ArtRise grant, the program will provide the Fellows with a year’s worth of OMA webinars, travel expenses and registration to the OMA annual conference in 2024 (April 13-15, Sandusky, Ohio), registration to OMA’s 2025 annual conference, four years of OMA membership for each fellow, and compensation for program planning the Fellows will contribute during the 2024 year and beyond.

“We are so grateful to Ohio Humanities and the Ohio Arts Council for their generous support, without which we would not have been able to launch this important program. Because of Ohio Humanities and OAC support, this fellowship will help amplify these diverse voices to aid OMA and museums across the state as we strive to better represent the communities we serve, and help strengthen and diversify the leadership in Ohio museums,” McEntee said.

The ten Fellows of the inaugural year of the Ohio Museums Association’s Empowering Museum Voices Fellowship are:

Ashley Aldrich, Director of the Lilian E. Jones Museum

Erin Augenstein, Executive Director of the Campus Martius and Ohio River Museum

Asja Bard, Manager of Program Initiatives at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Code Beschler, Accessibility Intern at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Krysty Bishop, Columbus Museum of Art

Chase Fleece, Board of Directors for the Hardin County Historical Museums

Janos Jalics, Graduate Student at Cleveland State University

Soli Foster Lopez, Independent museum professional

Joy Mistovich, Education Department Assistant at The Butler Institute of American Art

Deicie Sawyers, Community Engagement Coordinator at Imagination Station

“The Ohio Museums Association has been given a wonderful opportunity to advance not only our organization but the museum field as a whole. We are excited to be working with these ten Fellows – providing them access to continuing education in museum practices, but also learning from them to better the work we do every day. We can’t wait to see the innovative ideas and initiatives we can create together,” said Jacob Masters, President of the OMA Board of Trustees and Director of Development at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens.

Founded in 1976 by members of the Ohio's museum community, the Ohio Museums Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. OMA works with a variety of museums, museum professionals and providers of museum services to strengthen the state's museums, foster excellence in the field and support museums in Ohio. The Ohio Museums Association connects, educates, empowers and advocates for the Ohio Museum community.

The Ohio Museums Association serves the state’s arboretums, aquariums, anthropology museums, art museums, art center and galleries, botanical gardens, ethnic museums, general museums, heritage centers, history museums, historic houses, historic parks and sites, historical societies, natural history museums, nature centers, planetariums, science and technology centers, youth and children's museums and zoos.

For more information on the Ohio Museums Association, please contact 614.297.2375 or visit

The Ohio Museums Association’s Empowering Museum Voices Fellowship has been made possible in part by Ohio Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Ohio Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Ohio Museums Association’s Empowering Museum Voices Fellowship is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

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