Dearborn's Arab American National Museum names new director

Arab American National Museum in Dearborn
Arab American National Museum in Dearborn

DEARBORN, Mich. – The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn has appointed a new director.

Dr. Diana Abouali will take over as director of the museum in April. At home in both North America and the Middle East, fluent in English and Arabic, she has worked in the higher education, cultural heritage and museum sectors in the U.S., Palestine and Jordan. 

Dr. Diana Abouali becomes the third director of AANM, following its founding director, Dr. Anan Ameri, who joined ACCESS in 1997, opened the Museum in 2005 and retired in 2013, and Devon Akmon, the former curator of community history and deputy director who led the Museum from 2013 through 2018.

“We are confident that with Diana’s impressive background and innovative outlook, she is the best choice to lead our Arab American National Museum,” says Hassan Jaber, ACCESS executive director and chief executive officer. “We at ACCESS are all excited to work with Diana to help the Museum deliver on its mission of telling the story of Arab Americans.”

The museum is the first in the world devoted to Arab American history and culture. It opened in 2005.

Want to visit the museum?

The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI, 48126. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under and Museum Members, free. 

More background on Dr. Diana Abouali:

After 22 years in the U.S., Abouali traded the mountains of New Hampshire for the hills of Ramallah, Palestine, when she moved there to work as head of research and collections at the newly-established Palestinian Museum (which opened to the public in 2016 in Birzeit).

Relocating to Amman, Jordan, in 2014, she worked as director of education, outreach and awareness at the Petra National Trust and later as a senior consultant for Turquoise Mountain in Jordan. She was project manager at Tiraz: Widad Kawar Home for Arab Dress on an AHRC-ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund (UK) project, in cooperation with Plymouth University and the Information and Research Center-King Hussein Foundation, which studied the resilience of male Syrian artisan refugees in Jordan.

In that position, she co-produced a bilingual training program and toolkit in social-enterprise creation as a way to preserve cultural heritage. She has organized and delivered cultural heritage education workshops to Syrian children and women in the Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps, and she occasionally teaches college-level courses in the U.S. and Jordan. 

About the Author: