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Dwandalyn R. Reece

Dwandalyn R. Reece is Curator of Music and Performing Arts at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and is curating the music exhibition, Musical Crossroads, which will open in September 2016. Reece has worked on such projects as the 2011 Folklife Festival program, Rhythm & Blues: Tell it Like It Is, and is a member of the SI pan-institutional group, Smithsonian Music. Before joining the Smithsonian, Reece worked at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in several museums including the Louis Armstrong House and Archives, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and the Motown Historical Museum. She received her PhD in Performance Studies from New York University.

“Music, Museums, and the Curatorial Voice”
Like an author of a book or a director of a film, a museum curator is the voice and vision behind an exhibition. It is a scholarly voice. It is a creative voice. If you happen to work at the Smithsonian Institution, it is a voice that millions of visitors around the world will see and hear. In these circumstances, one realizes you have a potential to be a voice with power. What stories will I tell? What objects will I select? What perspective will I take? Who will have an opportunity to speak? Who won’t? How do I make scholarship and research accessible, engaging and informative in 75 words or less? And more importantly, how and why are such decisions made? With the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture scheduled to open in September 2016, the curator of the permanent music exhibition, Musical Crossroads, invites you on a journey to discover the motivations, methodologies, and embedded messages of the curatorial voice.


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