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African-American history museum hires director with Fort Wayne roots

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 6:27 am

The African/African-American Historical Society Museum has a new director.

The museum announced Monday that John Aden, a Fort Wayne native who has been a member of the Wabash College faculty, became its new executive director on Jan. 28.

Aden, described by the museum as a professional historian, is a Paul Harding High School graduate who graduated from Wabash College with honors, earned a doctorate from Indiana University and is a former Fulbright Fellow and an Eli Lilly Teaching Fellow. He is also the former managing editor of the peer-reviewed scholarly quarterly “Africa Today,” published by the Indiana University African Studies program.

Aden told the museum board that he wants to make better use of technology to tell the stories the museum was created to preserve. In a press release announcing his hiring, Aden said, “Programs that engage students and learners of all ages both in-house (in person visits to the museum) and on the Internet through our website and other social media platforms have a powerful impact in preserving community history.”

He worked in the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago as a summer research opportunity program fellow, as well as at the National Museum of Mali, West Africa during his Fulbright field research. He has extensive knowledge of and contacts in the field of museum studies, particularly as it pertains to African art, history, colonialism and culture.

Pompia Durril, president of the museum's board, expressed the board's gratitude for the work of Hana Stith, who helped found the museum 13 years ago and recently retired as its curator and director. Stith is now the museum's curator emeritus.