KENNESAW, Georgia (April 27, 2022) – JoyEllen Williams, Curator of Special Collections in the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books at Kennesaw State University, has been selected as the 2022 Rare Book-Andrew Mellon School of Cultural Heritage Scholar- 2024.

The Andrew W. Mellon Scholarship for Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Heritage is a partnership between the Rare Book School and the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Its stated mission is to advance multicultural collections through innovative and inclusive curatorial practice and leadership.

JoyEllen Williams

Williams was selected for a cohort of 15 fellows who come from diverse backgrounds and work in special collections of historical documents. Each participant identified with various racial or ethnic communities or works primarily with collections that document minority, immigrant and non-Western cultural traditions.

The competitive three-year fellowship offers several opportunities for professional growth and leadership development. RBS-Mellon CH Fellows will complete Rare Book School seminar-style courses, host a special rare books/collections symposium at their home institution, participate in project-based working groups, receive funding for attend the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section annual conference and other conferences and participate in a cultural heritage field school to meet with prominent leaders in the field of special collections.

“This fellowship provides us with the tools we need to advance ourselves and the multicultural collections we care about,” Williams said. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues and recognizing the work that needs to be done to connect communities with special collections and ensure the preservation of this material.

Williams hopes to introduce these special collections to the public in a variety of ways, both virtually and in person. Focusing on collection development, collection management, and outreach initiatives, she seeks to amplify the voices of the diverse communities, organizations, and individuals who created the rich historical resources we rely on today.

“A lot of people think there are barriers to interacting with historical material. My role is to help people see themselves in these collections so they know they are worthy and deserving of encountering these materials,” Williams said. “It’s up to us as archivists and memory workers to make sure we cultivate these collections so that as many voices as possible are captured.”

–Ana Johnson
Photos submitted

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global connections, and entrepreneurial spirit attract students from across the country and around the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated (R2) doctoral research institution, placing it among an elite group of only 6% of US colleges and universities with R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit