Ford W. Bell, current president of the American Alliance of Museums, spoke at Bowdoin on the state and role of museums in contemporary American society. He reflected upon his experiences and observations as the leader of AAM, including a re-branding and comprehensive overhaul of its programs and membership structure; a complete organizational re-structuring; and a new, intense focus on advocacy.

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 18,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, the Alliance is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience — past, present and future.

Bell became AAM president in June 2007, following a career as a veterinarian and nonprofit executive. Bell had also served as chair of the board of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and was a longtime board member of the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota. He will retire as AAM’s president on May 31, 2015