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Emily McWiliiams
Instructor, Arts Leadership program

Emily “MLe” McWilliams, a dynamic force who seeks to bring imagination, curiosity, wonder and play, to the arts administration and museum world.

MLe’s journey in the arts began in the nonprofit sector, where they served as the arts director at a Boy Scout camp in west Texas, igniting the creative spark in campers through activities ranging from painting to underwater basket weaving.

After receiving their bachelor’s degree in anthropology and art history from Southwestern University, they moved back home to Houston to work in the museum field. Starting as a Discovery Guide at the Children’s Museum Houston, MLe quickly rose through the ranks to become the Educational Events Manager. In this role, they orchestrated major events and programs that captivated thousands of visitors, while also forging meaningful partnerships with artists, local businesses, and nonprofits.

Driven by a desire to deepen their arts and culture impact for Houston families, MLe pursued a master’s in arts leadership at the University of Houston, where their practicum project focused on strengthening ties between the Children’s Museum of Houston and the LGBTQ+ community. By participating in Pride Houston’s Celebration Festival and hosting LGBTQ+ organizations and family activities at the museum, MLe demonstrated a commitment to inclusivity and belonging.

In 2020, MLe embarked on their next academic pursuit, enrolling in a doctoral program in arts administration at Florida State University. Their dissertation centers on imagining the future of children’s museums, reflecting their dedication to creating enriching experiences for families and young learners. Alongside their academic endeavors, MLe has taught arts administration at Florida State, and has contributed to publications such as Spectrum South and the Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, further amplifying their voice in the field.