West TN Winner: Raka Nandi (2020 scholarship winner)
I'm Raka Nandi and have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work at three amazing Memphis museums. I started my museum career in 2013 as the curator of history at the Pink Palace Museum. In 2015, I joined the staff of the National Civil Rights Museum as their Collections Manager and Registrar. During my four years there, I had occasions to meet with numerous visiting dignitaries and civil and human rights leaders, but my most memorable experiences were my conversations with ordinary people coming to the museum to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am currently the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the only soul music museum in the world. Built on the grounds of the original Stax Records recording studio, the Stax Museum plays a unique role in the Soulsville neighborhood of South Memphis. The museum chronicles the history of Stax Records, its catalog of soul hits, and the careers of music icons who recorded for the label. Not only am I surrounded by the sweet sounds of soul music here, but on any given day I may be treated to a visitor breaking out into song and sometimes even a dance on the exhibit floor.
West TN Winner: Maureen Smith
Maureen Smith is the Collections and Special Projects Coordinator at the Morton Museum of Collierville History. She holds a Masters of Medieval History from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters of Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Previously, Maureen worked with the King Richard III Visitor Centre, the Scott Polar Research Institute's Polar Museum, and Mystic Seaport Museum. When she isn't conducting research or caring for a collection, Maureen enjoys video games and planning the trips she'll take after the pandemic.
Middle TN Winner: Janet Palmore
I'm Janet Palmore from Springfield, Tennessee. I am a life long resident of Robertson County where I live with my husband Bo and our three children. I dedicate my time in taking care of our farm, educating our children through home schooling, and volunteering at the Robertson County History Museum. During my time volunteering at the museum, I have discovered that history is my true passion. It is my goal to help grow the museum's attendance and presence in the community through more educational programming.
East TN Winner: Summer Apostol
Summer Apostol is an Appalachian Transplant dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Appalachia's rich history, culture, diversity, and art. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida Summer came to call SWVA and NE Tennessee her home after matriculating at Emory & Henry College. At this institution she received her degrees in History and Sociology and discovered her true passion of curation as a student worker at the McGlothlin Center for the Arts Gallery. Summer currently works at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum as the Assistant Museum Manager and Volunteer Coordinator and continues her fight for diversity in the arts with her involvement with Arts Alliance of the Mountain Empire and her Appalachian Art focused radio show on 90.7 WEHC.