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Michelle Joan Wilkinson

Michelle Joan Wilkinson, PhD was a 2020 Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design. As a curator at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Wilkinson works to expand the museum’s collections in architecture and design. She co-curated two inaugural exhibitions: "A Century in the Making: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture" and "A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond." In 2018, Wilkinson served as lead organizer for the museum’s three-day symposium, “Shifting the Landscape: Black Architects and Planners, 1968 to Now.”

Prior to NMAAHC, Wilkinson was Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. In that capacity, she curated over twenty exhibitions, including the critically acclaimed "A People’s Geography: The Spaces of African American Life" and two award-winning shows—"Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists" and "For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People". Wilkinson has also worked at the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

As a fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2012, Wilkinson completed a short-term residency at the Design Museum in London. Her ongoing research project, “V is for Veranda,” about architectural heritage in the Anglophone Caribbean, has been presented to international audiences in Suriname, England, India, and the United States. Her essay, “Not Grandpa’s Porch, Or Is It?: Musings on the New Museum on the Mall,” was published in a special architecture issue of the International Review of African American Art. Wilkinson’s most recent effort, the Rendering Visible project, explores the black architectural imagination and issues of representation in architectural renderings.

Wilkinson holds BA from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD from Emory University.
Courtesy of Michelle Joan Wilkinson, photographed by Jonathan Timmes