About

I’m Sam{antha}. I love museums, inclusion, nature, pop culture, and writing.

I live in my hometown in New Hampshire after spending 8+ years in Washington, D.C., where I studied History and American Studies at American University (2015), and attended George Washington University’s Museum Education Program (2016).  I’ve worked in museum education, evaluation, and marketing.  As an independent professional and autistic self-advocate, I write and speak on topics related to autism inclusion, accessibility, and neurodiversity in museums and cultural institutions.

Upcoming events:

Thursday 11/19/20: I’m joining colleagues at MCN 2020 Virtual for “New Horizons: A Critical Examination of Animal Crossing for Cultural Heritage Institutions.” This session critically examines how the game’s impact on museum digital engagement internally and the public’s understanding of what museums are or could be. Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a digital opportunity and cultural phenomenon particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We seek to interrogate the ways museums have leveraged this game and the cultural moment around it.

Here’s a selection of my writing and speaking that exist elsewhere on the internet:

Engaging Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities in Virtual Programs Panelist (Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium). October 2020.
I spoke about how facilitators can gauge access needs, ensure participants are making meaning from the content, and how institutions like museums can use virtual programs to create opportunities for social connection. A recording of this presentation will be available soon – I’ll update the link when it’s available.

Autism Stories Podcast. June 2020.
I spoke with Doug Belcher about how museums can be beneficial and what we need to do to make them more accessible to Autistic people. “When you go into a museum there are things, objects, that make learning very concrete. If you can see it, feel it, and touch it you can start to understand it. So, I think that’s part of why Autistic people might learn better in museums.” Listen wherever you get your podcasts or read a transcript of the interview, graciously provided by Doug Belcher.

“Autistic in a pandemic: Stories from around the world” (via Spectrum News). May 2020. Spectrum included some of my experience during Covid-19 alongside stories from 21 other autistic people from a total of 19 countries.

“MER Talks: Autism Acceptance Month” (co-author: Abigail Diaz). April 2020.
In this blog post, we discussed Autism Acceptance Month, the pandemic’s effects on the disability community, and our hopes for a more inclusive future in museums.

“Constructing Knowledge Together: Collaborating with and Understanding Young Adults with Autism” (co-author: Beth Redmond-Jones). Journal of Museum Education, December 2018.
This article documents a project designed for autistic young adults and the reciprocal museum learning among the program’s participants and staff.
This article is currently open-access as part of The Arc of Accessibility in Museum Education. Use this link to access the article for free until December 31, 2020.

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