museum adventures. music + history / intersections. power of material culture.


Timothy Anne Burnside is a cultural historian and museum professional whose work explores the intersections between history, culture, and activism through the lenses of music & performing arts. She has been with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) since 2009, where she collects artifacts and develops exhibitions and programs that offer complex representations of history and cultural expression. She worked on multiple NMAAHC inaugural exhibitions, including Musical Crossroads, Sports: Leveling the Playing Field, Taking the Stage, Cultural Expressions, and Power of Place. In addition to curatorial exhibition development, her background includes historical research, archival work, collections management, exhibition installation, and program production. Her unique professional perspective fuels her exploration of the changing role of museums.

Timothy began her career with the Smithsonian at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) in 2003 as an intern with the Archives Center, then began working for NMAH's Division of Cultural History. She was project assistant and a producer of NMAH's Jazz Appreciation Month (2004-2005), and launched the Smithsonian's first hip-hop collecting initiative in 2006. Additional exhibitions for NMAAHC include Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment (2010) and Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture (2017). 

Timothy regularly presents at  conferences across the country and speaks with high school, college, and graduate students about opportunities in the museum field. She received her B.A. from Lawrence University, and M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.  

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