Oakland Public Library (OPL) Brings on Susan D. Anderson as Interim Chief Curator at the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO)

Release Date

Thu, 09/21/2017

The Oakland Public Library is excited to welcome Susan D. Anderson, founder and principal at Memory House, as Interim Chief Curator at AAMLO, effective late October or early November.


Memory House assists museums, libraries, collectors, heritage organizations, and government agencies in their efforts to reach diverse markets and audiences.


Anderson is an innovative curator, public historian, and author with 10+ years’ experience leading teams to create exhibitions and programming, acquiring and developing collections, raising funds through individual donors, grants and public contracts, implementing successful outreach, and partnering with diverse communities. She is an expert in American history and African American history with an emphasis on ethnic, literary, bohemian, and social justice communities in California. She has recently lectured on African American History at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, The Presidio of San Francisco, and the Richmond Museum of History. Past employment has included being a curator and managing director at UCLA and USC’s libraries’ Special Collections. She also was curator of the statewide, touring exhibition commemorating the centennial of Col. Allensworth State Historic Park with the California African American Museum.


Anderson has expressed great excitement about this new role. “I am so thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to lead this unique and wonderful institution,” she said. “It is of vital importance that this history be preserved and made available to the community and scholars. I look forward to partnering with local organizations and individuals and my door will be open to all who have a stake in the future of AAMLO.”


AAMLO (http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO), a specialized unit of the Oakland Public Library, is dedicated to the discovery, preservation, interpretation, and sharing of historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in California and the West for present and future generations. The Oakland Public Library (OPL) is dedicated to empowering all people to “explore, connect, and grow,” as proclaimed by our mission statement. We are committed to reaching out to communities in Oakland that have been underserved. We are dedicated to being a space for hosting and facilitating conversations around the issues that matter to our city, and to honoring people and their needs first. AAMLO will be moving in a similar direction. AAMLO’s unique non-circulating reference library, its permanent museum gallery and space for changing exhibits, as well as its archives with over 160 collections documenting the history of African Americans in Northern California and the Bay Area, all are a rich resource for the community. OPL is very much committed to new opportunities for AAMLO with a focus on engaging Oakland’s African American community in new and more accessible ways. Susan D. Anderson’s appointment is the first step in AAMLO’s leap forward.


There will be a national recruitment by a professional search firm for a permanent Chief Curator and we will seek a Curator in African American studies and history that has backgrounds in museum administration and collection management. Our plan is to involve the community in the search process and we welcome your feedback in how that might look to you.


You can read more about the changes coming to AAMLO at oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLOchanges and we are soliciting feedback from the community at oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLOfeedback.

For more information, please contact Sharon McKellar, Community Relations Librarian, at smckellar@oaklandlibrary.org or 510-238-3513, or visit oaklandlibrary.org.

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