Founder’s Info:

Dr. Deborah Johnson-Simon– is a Museum Anthropologist and the Founder and CEO of The African Diaspora Museology Institute, Inc. in Savannah Georgia, formerly known as The Center for the Study of African and African Diaspora Museums and Communities.  a research lab dedicated to scholarly investigation of the history and culture of the African Diaspora descendant experiences surrounding Black cultural institutions.

Dr. Johnson-Simon has worked for more than 20 years on museum and cultural heritage projects in several states including Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and now in Georgia.  Additionally, she has taught at Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida both in Gainesville, Florida where she earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology.  She earned her MA in Anthropology and Museum Studies from Arizona State University in Tempe Arizona and her BA in Anthropology/Sociology from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.  She is currently an adjunct professor at Savannah State University in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences where she teaches anthropology.  She has presented her research on museum association and anthropology association panels and to discussion groups as her research institute is unique to this area of academia. She is the author of several books including, Culture Keepers: Florida, We’re Cookin It Up Again: Recipes to Celebrate the 1983 Blacks in Museums Directory, Kid’s Can Cook It Up Too, Anaya Visits the James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Anaya and Grammy: A Virginia Arts and Alzheimer’s Story; Tim and Trey: A Georgia Arts and Alzheimer’s Story, Kiah Museum Day of Remembrance: A Quilt Exhibition, and co-editor of the Second Generation of African American Pioneers in Anthropology, (2018) published by University of Illinois Press. She is currently working on the Kiah Museum Story which documents the life and work of portrait artist and museum founder Virginia Jackson Kiah

Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, dissertation: “Evolving Role of Florida Black Museums and their Communities”.  M.A. in anthropology/Museum Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ thesis: “African American Museum Development: Attracting and Maintaining the African American Audience”,


The ADMI is a nonprofit research institute located in Savannah, Georgia, USA.

The Institute’s principal areas of expertise are African Diaspora museums, and the history of the black museums and the politics of identity, and how these museums organize and manage culture and the communities that they serve.

The Institute’s mission is to provide pragmatic research products that can be employed to improve the museological community and its constituencies’ knowledge base of museums in the African Diaspora and improve the quality of life of the communities served by these museums throughout the Diaspora. 

The Institute fulfills this mission by bringing the resources of museum studies programs, African and Africa Diaspora Studies, historic preservation, , genealogy, as well as public history programs of its partner colleges and universities to African Diaspora communities; developing, coordinating and funding collaboratives, community driven research projects; providing technical assistance and training; disseminating research publications and reports; and hosting conferences, colloquia, and other events open to the public on topics of concerns to African Diaspora communities.

The Institute’s Fields of Research

  • The history of the first association for African American museum professionals—AAMA
  • The history of first associations for African Diaspora museum professionals
  • The history of the first association for African museum professionals
  • The identity, history, and culture of African American museums
  • The identity and institution building of black museums in the African Diaspora
  • The identity and institution building of black museums in Africa
  • The identity and institution building of HBCU’s and the Revisit of Cureau’s Study
  • Exhibition analysis of African and African Diaspora museums
  • The development of disciplines and museum formation
  • The processes tied to cultural heritage in Africa and the African Diaspora


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 5261 Savannah, GA 31414