Mary Ellen Munley is the principal of MEM & Associates, a consulting group dedicated to enhancing the role of museums in the lives of people and their communities. Mary Ellen brings 30 years of experience in museum education, administration, evaluation and professional service to the tasks museums face as they work to maximize their public value. Mary Ellen – and the customized team she forms for each project- works with museums on projects ranging from strategic planning and organizational change to program design and evaluation.
Recent projects include evaluation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s 13- year old program for youth, Bringing the Lessons Home, and the international dissemination project for the New York Hall of Science’s 20 year old program, Science Career Ladder. In each project the evaluation resulted in the museum being able to make a stronger case for its public value given the innovative approach to an evaluation design that was grounded in reflective practice by the staff and development of measures that illuminated the programs’ contributions to youth development and civic engagement.
Mary Ellen began her career at the Smithsonian Institution, working on evaluations at the National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, the National Zoo and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She then served as research assistant for the American Association of Museum’s (AAM) Commission on Museums for a New Century, helping to craft the publication, Museums for a New Century, with its powerful argument for the centrality of education to the mission and organizational structure of museums. As a board member and national chair of the AAM’s Education Committee, Mary Ellen actively participated in the development of the museum educators’ statement of professional standards and the AAM policy statement, Excellence and Equity.
Mary Ellen has authored dozens of articles and has delivered scores of presentations at conferences and symposia. She continues to think creatively about the role of education departments and museum educators in institutions that are striving to maximize their public value. She’s spent over 15 years in senior management positions at the New York State Museum and The Field Museum, Chicago. Her experience combines planning and managing change using skills that range from staff planning, budgeting and grant writing to establishing community partnerships and the integration of theory into practice. MEM & Associates’ work with the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, for instance, involves applying the principles and values of open source design to the Aquarium’s work with several of its communities of learners in an effort to make Shedd more accessible, transparent, and relevant. At the Minnesota Children’s Museum MEM & Associates is guiding the Leadership Team through the process of defining the Museum’s public value and expressing that value in its case statement, program design and evaluations. Mary Ellen and her teams are especially interested in working with museums – regardless of discipline – that are examining their role in the life of their communities and striving to maximize their public value.
Mary Ellen Munley
Principal, MEM & Associates
121 Jefferson Avenue
Bennington, VT 05201
708 606-1363 mobile