The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Museum Research and Scholarship Group aims to advance understanding of Native knowledge, history, culture, art, and self-determination in collaboration with Native communities and scholars through research, scholarship, and repatriation.

The NMAI seeks to be a center for the conduct and presentation of original scholarship by staff members, scholars from other institutions, and Native community scholars. To achieve this end, the museum’s curators, researchers, and scholars engage in dialogues with and solicit the contributions of both respected Native community cultural authorities and academic specialists. Focal points for the museum’s research and scholarship program include: giving greater breadth and perspective to themes that guide the museum’s exhibitions, publications, and public programs; increasing and making widely available knowledge about the museum’s collections; providing electronic access to collections for researchers, teachers, and the public via networked technologies and other online tools; and addressing important historical and contemporary issues affecting Native Americans.

Associate Director for Museum Scholarship, Exhibitions, and Public Engagement

David W. Penney
Education: PhD, Art History, Columbia University in the City of New York; BA, Art History, New York University
Research interests: American Indian art history; exhibition development

Collections Research

Ann McMullen
Head of Collections Research and Documentation
Education: PhD and MA, Anthropology, Brown University; BA, Anthropology, Dartmouth College
Research interests: Native American ethnology, history, and material culture; ethnohistory; Indigenous historiography; history of museums; history of ethnographic research and collecting; Museum of the American Indian and NMAI history and collections development; 20th-century Native American art/craft; invention of tradition/cultural revitalization; ethnicity, identity, and material culture

L. Antonio Curet
Education: PhD, Anthropology (Archaeology), Arizona State University; MS and BS, magna cum laude, Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Research interests: Caribbean and Mesoamerican archaeology; social and cultural change in ancient times; household archaeology; paleodemography; ceramic analysis; history of museums

Maria Galban
Museum Specialist
Education: MA, Anthropology with Museum Training, George Washington University; BA, Anthropology, Penn State University
Research interests: museum anthropology; Museum of the American Indian history; 20th-century collectors of Native American art, archaeology, and ethnology

Cécile R. Ganteaume
Education: MA, Anthropology, and BA, Art History, New York University
Research interests: North American Indian history, culture, and art; globalization and material culture; the non-Native production and circulation of American Indian visual imagery; Museum of the American Indian and NMAI collections history

Amy B. Groleau
Education: PhD and MA, Anthropology, SUNY Binghamton; BA, Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Research interests: Contemporary and ancestral Andean history and material culture; craft traditions and popular arts in Latin America; post-conflict memory work; art in service of community

Matthew C. Sanger
Education: PhD and MPhil, Anthropology, Columbia University; MA, Anthropology, CUNY Hunter; BA, Religious Studies and Anthropology, Colorado College
Research interests: Native North American history and material culture; Indigenous philosophies, exchange systems, and technological innovation; pottery; metallurgy

History and Culture

Michelle Ann Delaney
Assistant Director for History and Culture
Education: PhD, History, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; MA, American Studies, George Washington University; BA, American Studies, Manhattanville College
Research interests: American visual culture and the history of photography, Native American photography, Daguerreian-era photography 1839–1860, 19th- and 20th-century art photography; White House photography and photojournalism; mass entertainment in America and Wild West shows, including advertising images and posters

James Ring Adams
Senior Historian, Managing Editor, American Indian Magazine
Education: PhD, Government, Cornell University; BA, History, Yale College
Research interests: history of Contact; liminality; North Atlantic studies; Northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern tribes; Indigenous legal and political theory

Patricia Jollie (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes)
Museum Technician
Education: BFA, Corcoran School of Art
Research interests: fine arts; Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere

Halena Kapuni-Reynolds (Kanaka ‘Ōiwi/Native Hawaiian)
Associate Curator
Education: ABD, American Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; MA, Anthropology, University of Denver; BA, Anthropology and Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
Research Interests: Indigenous anthropology, museum anthropology, Indigenous museology, Native Hawaiian social history, Native Hawaiian arts, public history, place-based learning, community-based archiving

Ashley Minner
Assistant Curator
Education: PhD, American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park; MA and MFA, Community Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art; BFA, General Fine Arts, minor, American Indian Studies, Maryland Institute College of Art
Research interests: American Indian history and heritage in Baltimore; urban Indian communities; East Coast Indian communities; Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina; folklife; identity; ethnography; archives; public history; material culture; art for social justice

Anya Montiel
Education: PhD, American Studies, Yale University; MA, American Studies, Yale University; BA, Native American Studies and Anthropology, University of California at Davis
Research interests: 20th-century Native American history; North American Native American art; global arts and crafts; Indigenous feminisms

Christopher Lindsay Turner
Cultural Research Specialist
Education: ABD, American Studies, Purdue University; MA, Cultural Studies, The Boston Graduate Consortium (conferred by Simmons College); BA, The State University of New York
Research interests: the cultural politics of land, history, and environmental issues; Native American governmental relations and contemporary issues; Haudenosaunee history and culture

Cynthia L. Vidaurri
Education: MA, Sociology (Folklore), Texas A&I University; BS, Government, University of Texas
Research interests: Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and US Southwest; general folklore; traditional medicine; traditional belief systems; cultural/heritage tourism; traditional culture in marketing; ranching culture

Native Arts

Emil Her Many Horses (Lakota)
Associate Curator
Education: ABD, Studies in Philosophy, Loyola University; BA, Business Administration, Augustana College
Research interests: Northern Plains tribal arts

Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche)
Education: High Point High School, Beltsville, Md.
Research interests: modern and contemporary art; 20th-century American history

Rebecca Trautmann
Research Specialist
Education: BA, Humanities, University of Texas, Austin
Research interests: modern and contemporary Native American art; Plateau baskets


Jacquetta (Jackie) Swift
Repatriation Manager
Education: MA, American Indian Studies, University of Tucson; BA, Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma
Research interests: domestic and international repatriation; Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights; repatriation policy and development

Risa Diemond Arbolino
Repatriation Research Specialist
Education: PhD, Archaeology, Southern Methodist University; BA, Anthropology, Columbia University
Research interests: repatriation; prehistoric agricultural practices; archaeology of the American Southwest

Samantha Hixson
Repatriation Research Specialist
Education: MA, Ethnology, University of New Mexico; BA, Anthropology, New Mexico State University
Research interests: Domestic and international repatriation; diffusion and role of the horse in Native North America; archives and collections; community collaboration

Nancy Kenet Vickery
International Repatriation Specialist
Education: MA, Latin American Studies, American University; BA, Spanish, Western Washington University
Research interests: international repatriation and Indigenous community development; Latin America and the Caribbean

Lauren Sieg
Repatriation Research Specialist
Education: MA, Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; BA, Anthropology, University of Florida
Research interests: US archaeology, especially the Midwest and Southeast; North American anthropology; repatriation law and practice; archives and collection-based studies; research ethics; sustainability

Terry Snowball
Repatriation Coordinator
Education: Senior Fellow, Religion and the Arts Initiative Project, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School; AD, Museum Studies and Two-Dimensional Arts, Institute of American Indian Arts
Research interests: domestic and international repatriation; intangible cultural heritage issues; intellectual property rights, ethics, and philosophy; sensitive collections and repatriation policy development

Outreach & Engagement Planning

Jennifer A. Shannon
Outreach & Engagement Planning Manager
Education: PhD, Sociocultural Anthropology, Cornell University; MA, Social Science, University of Chicago; BA, Anthropology and Biology, Bowdoin College
Research interests: museum ethics; collaborative anthropology; anthropology of museums; Indigenous and community centered museology; public scholarship and social science communication; Indigenous rights and representation; Indigenizing and decolonizing methodologies; NAGPRA and repatriation; Native North America