Devon Akmon’s professional updates and news on adventure and travel.

Ann Arbor Equitable Engagement Steering Committee

September 18, 2021 News

Last month I was chosen to serve as a volunteer on the City of Ann Arbor’s new Equitable Engagement Steering Committee. In sum, 30 local residents were selected to “help Ann Arbor become the inclusive and just community it desires to be.” Four goals guide our work, which include working to develop: A deeper understanding of what equity and equitable engagement means and could look like in Ann Arbor.   Policy recommendations  for Council consideration and adoption .  Staff guidelines based onRead More

A Conversation with Russ White of MSU Today

August 18, 2021 News

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Russ White of MSU Today. Russ is a great interviewer. He has a talent for putting his subjects at ease and in a conversational mood. Our conversation explored the recent merging of Science Gallery with the MSU Museum, my leadership of both, and the plans for revitalizing the museum in the coming years. A transcript, along with the audio from the interview, can be found at WKAR. Some excerpts from our conversation:Read More

The Inclusive Museum Leader

July 24, 2021 News

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to contribute a chapter to a new book, published by Rowman & Littlefied and the American Alliance of Museums, called The Inclusive Museum Leader. Edited by Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, director of the Illinois State Museum, and Chris Taylor, chief inclusion officer at the Minnesota Historical Society, the book features over 25 diverse and accomplished leaders from across the museum field. Together, the authors “share their journeys to becoming inclusive leaders, as well as decisionsRead More

Homecoming: My appointment as Director of MSU Museum

July 4, 2021 News

Effective July 1, 2021, I am now serving as director of the Michigan State University Museum. In many ways, this is a homecoming. My first job in a museum was at this institution during my undergraduate studies. I’m thrilled to return and work with the staff and campus community as we envision a bold future for this vital institution. In addition, I’m still responsible for overseeing MSU’s Science Gallery. With this transition, Science Gallery has become a programmatic division ofRead More

Touring the Ohio to Erie Trail

June 27, 2021 Adventure

From June 22 to June 26, 2021, I made a five-day journey bicycling across the state of Ohio along the Ohio to Erie Trail (OTET). I opted to travel south to north, beginning in Cincinnati and finishing in Cleveland. It was a rewarding way to see the state of Ohio while celebrating my 45th birthday. Day One: Tuesday, June 22 I began my ride on Tuesday in Cincinnati. My wife Dharma provided support since she could not join me onRead More

The Science of Grief Podcast

June 7, 2021 News

Last Wednesday, Science Gallery Detroit and WDET-FM, Detroit’s NPR Station, published the first episode in a new joint podcast called The Science of Grief. Inspired by the highly successful SGD program of the same name, the 10-episode podcast series makes space for young adults to share stories, science, and solutions for those who are exploring their mental health for the first time. Hosted by acclaimed poet and SGD Community Engagement Manager Natasha T. Miller, and featuring a production team thatRead More

Biking The Illinois & Michigan Canal Trail

June 1, 2021 Adventure

Dharma and I rode the Illinois & Michigan (I&M) Canal Trail, end-to-end, from east to west this weekend. The trail is the heart of the I&M Canal National Heritage Area. Designated in 1984, the I&M Canal National Heritage Area is our country’s first National Heritage Area and encompasses approximately 862 square miles, five counties, and 60 communities. The 96-mile I&M Canal opened in 1848 and linked the Illinois River with Lake Michigan. In many respects, the Canal was instrumental in buildingRead More

A Visionary Environment: Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain

April 22, 2021 Adventure

I first learned of Salvation Mountain while watching the biographical adventure film Into the Wild, which is based on the book by Jon Krakauer. The story explores the life and untimely death of Christopher McCandless. As I watched the film I became captivated by this mysterious place and its eccentric creator, named Leonard Knight (who plays himself in the movie). I made a mental note that I would be sure to visit Salvation Mountain the next time I found myself inRead More

The Meandering Road to Spiral Jetty

April 20, 2021 Adventure

I had been wanting to visit Robert Smithson’s earthwork, Spiral Jetty (1970), for years. However, I’ve never had the opportunity to venture out from Salt Lake City while in Utah. Recently, as we explored the state in the comforts of our Subaru, we made a point of paying a visit to Rozel Point peninsula on the northeastern shore of Great Salt Lake to view this acclaimed work of art. Located approximately two hours north of Salt Lake City, the earthworkRead More

Laumeier Sculpture Park: Experience World-class Public Art in a Beautiful Natural Environment

April 20, 2021 Adventure

I first visited Laumeier Sculpture Park in Saint Louis during a board reception at the American Alliance of Museums’ 2017 Annual Meeting. I now make a point of returning every time I’m passing through the city. It’s the perfect place to experience world-class art in a beautiful natural environment. The collection, which is free and accessible to the public, includes works by Richard Hunt, Donal Judd, Mark di Suvero, Tony Tasset, and many more acclaimed artists. Here are some picturesRead More