Meet the Board of Directors


Nathan Kemler
Director of Galleries and Collections
Grand Valley State University 

Personal Motto

“That belongs in a museum!” – Indiana Jones

What is your museum background?

I started very young. My father collects Victorian paper ephemera, among other things, and as a result my family and were frequent visitors to antique shops. Coming out of this deep appreciation for history, I started my career with my undergraduate studies in world history, archaeology, art history, and studio art. All of these areas of study came together with my first internship at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. I was hooked from that point on.

I continued on to grad school and then returned to the Public Museum for my first official professional position. After that appointment I went on to work at the Holland Museum and then Grand Valley State University. Over the past 20 years, I have worked as collections manager, curator, assistant director and now director. I serve on museum boards and as a American Alliance of Museums Peer Reviewer in the Museum Assessment Program.

How did you get involved with MMA?

During my first few years in the museum field, I attended a MMA conference. I remembering not knowing anyone and being amazed by how many other museum professionals there were in our state. I was eager to learn new things and meet new people so I continued attending MMA’s annual conferences and eventually started to attend whatever workshop or events I could throughout the rest of the year. I began to volunteer on numerous MMA committees such as professional development, programs, and the conference team. I co-hosted a MMA conference in 2012 in Muskegon and then joined the board in 2016.

What is your favorite thing about MMA? 

There is something incredibly powerful when you’re able to connect with others on a passion level. With MMA, we all share a passion for the impact that museums provide to our communities. So my favorite thing about MMA has always been getting into a space (a conference session, event, or Zoom call) with other museum professionals and feeling our collective energy. MMA has always excelled at bringing people together and making those experiences accessible for everyone.

Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721

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