The Museum Studies Collective

We are a collective of professors, alumni, and students of the Museum Studies Certificate program at Union Institute and University, a national university for lifelong learners seeking a program embedded in social justice, engaging difference, and creative ways of examining existing knowledge that is both relevant and essential.

Founding Members

Bruce Maggi is currently an art history professor at Coastal Carolina University. Maggi’s teaching focus is American Indian art and how it has influenced and still influences the art of the Euroamerican culture. This influence can be seen throughout the history of The United States and Canada. Although his ancestry is not from an indigenous background, his own history has been steeped within interactions with American Indian cultures.

Victory for the Water Protectors. Kent Monkman. 2018.

Anu Mitra is faculty in the Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Union Institute & University, where she is also the facilitator of the Museum Studies and Design Thinking Certificate programs. From 2019-24, she has been selected as a Fulbright specialist with plans to serve in the Caribbean nations of Trinidad/Tobago, Guyana, or Surinam. Her research centers around arts- based learning spaces, pedagogy, and practices. Anu has a MA and PhD in Literature from the University of Rochester. Her intensive training in museum studies and art history/interpretation continue to this day at the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center, and as part of the Ohio Advisory Board of the National Museum for Women in the Arts. Anu is the proud parent, along with her husband, of three adult children and one Siberian Husky. In her spare time, she loves to read memoirs, watch Indie films, and travel where ever the road will take her.

A Maid Asleep. Johannes Vermeer. 1656-57

AC Panella holds a Ph.D. in Humanities and certificates in museum studies, conflict resolution, and educational leadership. He is an activist and teacher. He has worked on a variety of projects including the Trans Leadership Academy, The LA Trans Health Coalition, and has been an advisor to queer student organizations for 15 years. Currently, he is a full-time faculty member at Santa Rosa Junior College and an oral historian with the Georgia State University Trans Oral History Project. His research is focused on trans collective memory and history as it’s represented in visual and material culture. When he isn’t nose-deep in research, he is a pet parent, a truncle, and is likely picking up an oddball hobby that will not be useful but will be entertaining.

Untitled. Tuesday Smillie. 2012.

Kathryn Turley-Sonne has a PhD in Humanities with an emphasis in Museum Studies, a Masters Degree in Literature and a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Composition and Rhetoric from Brigham Young University. She teaches a variety of honors and regular English and Interdisciplinary Studies courses at Cypress College where she is a full professor. Turley-Sonne is also the Director of the campus Honors Program, the Service Learning Center.  

Nacer de Nuevo. Remedios Varo. 1960.

Tamara White is a mixed-media artist, art collector, and recent graduate from Union Institute and University, graduating with a concentration in humanities and certificates in museum studies and design thinking. Tamara’s work examines visual activism through the intersection of art and social justice, explicitly looking at diabetes within the carceral environments. Tamara serves on boards for Shotgun Players Theater in Berkeley, CA, SPACE on Ryder Farm in Brewster, NY, and the acquisitions committee at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Cincinnati, OH. Her least favorite word is hashtag.

Morning After. Terry O’Neill. 1978.