Michael Atwood Mason

Director, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution

Dr. Michael Atwood Mason joined the Center in 2013. He began his career at the Smithsonian in 1992, working first at the Anacostia Community Museum and then, starting in 1994, at the National Museum of Natural History, where he served as exhibit developer and later as director of exhibitions. He has developed, curated, and managed more than sixty exhibitions, including African Voices, Ritmos de Identidad/Rhythms of Identity, Discovering Rastafari, and the inaugural exhibition at the Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture. Since 1987, he has been studying the religions and cultures of the African diaspora, and he is the author of Living Santería: Rituals and Experiences in an Afro-Cuban Religion (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002) and the cultural blog Baba Who? Babalú!. He also teaches courses on the politics of representation and the development of community-based exhibitions in the cultural sustainability program at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. Michael holds a Ph.D. in folklore, with a double minor in religion, from Indiana University.

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