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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology hires new executive director

Indiana University has named Brandie Macdonald executive director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Brandie Macdonald. Photo courtesy of the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Brandie Macdonald. Photo courtesy of the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

She will bring nearly 15 years of nonprofit leadership to the role, including extensive experience managing teams, curating exhibits, fundraising and relationship-building with Indigenous peoples. In her most recent role, she served as senior director of decolonizing initiatives at the Museum of Us in San Diego, California. Macdonald will begin her new role at IU on June 1.

“Brandie’s extensive museum leadership and curatorial experience, as well as history of successful collaboration with Native tribes, make her uniquely qualified to lead IUMAA to its grand opening and beyond,” said Rahul Shrivastav, executive vice president and provost of IU Bloomington. “With continued thanks to the state of Indiana and generous private philanthropic support, we are excited for Brandie to bring her knowledge, creativity and expertise to IUMAA. She will help greatly expand research and hands-on learning opportunities for our students, particularly for our new MA in Curatorship program.”

As a curator and scholar, Macdonald has led the creation of a number of exhibitions during her tenure at the Museum of Us, including “Colonial Legacy: The Museum’s Façade” and “Maya: Heart of the Sky, Heart of the Earth.” A dedicated museum professional and Indigenous citizen of the Chickasaw Nation with ancestral ties to the Choctaw Nation, Macdonald’s references refer to her as “a rising cultural leader.”

Macdonald also held key roles at First Peoples Fund in Rapid City, South Dakota, and The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota.

“I am overjoyed to be joining the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and to have the opportunity to work closely with the talented IU staff, scholars and students,” Macdonald said. “I look forward to connecting and collaborating with IUMAA community members, advisory boards, Indigenous communities and others to make IUMAA more accessible for research and teaching, and more culturally connected to our broader community in exciting and engaging ways.”

Macdonald received a Master of Education in international higher education at Loyola University and is completing her Ph.D. at the University of San Diego in education studies. She is also teaching remotely at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, with a focus on Indigenous stewardship practices and repatriation policy.