TALLAHASSEE – United States President Barack H. Obama has appointed Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna Althemese Pemberton Barnes to the National Museum and Library Services Board (NMLSB).
The NMLSB is an advisory body that includes the director and deputy directors of Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and 20 presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed members of the general public who have demonstrated expertise in, or commitment to, library or museum services.
Informed by its collectively vast experience and knowledge, the NMLSB advises the IMLS director on general policy and practices, and on selections for the National Medals for Museum and Library Service.
“I feel honored to have an opportunity to serve the larger community,” said Barnes. “This is an opportunity to make a difference on the national and global scale as it relates to preserving America’s story and history. I am hopeful my presence will have an impact statewide. I will be among many experienced and professional colleagues. I look at this opportunity as another milestone in life.”
IMLS Director Susan Hildreth said she is looking forward to working with Barnes. “Her experience establishing a museum and working with museum service organizations provide her with a wealth of knowledge and experience that will enhance the work we do at IMLS,” said Hildreth.
Barnes, who was appointed with nine other individuals from around the country to serve on respective boards, is the executive director of the John G. Riley Museum, which she founded in 1996.
“I am pleased to announce that these experienced and committed individuals have agreed to join this administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” Obama said in a statement.
Barnes earned her bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in guidance and counseling from FAMU.
In 1997, she established The Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, a statewide professional museum association. She served in Florida’s Departments of Education and Labor as an Employment Counselor and Program Specialist, retiring in 1995. From 1965 to 1970, she was a music instructor in the Leon County Schools. She has worked as a consultant on several oral history and cultural development projects, and directed the publication of historical books, heritage trail maps, guides and documentaries.
Barnes is a member of the American Association of Museums, the Florida Heritage Foundation, the Florida Association of Museums, the Association of African American Museums, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.