Nina Simon

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Nina Simon (born July 15, 1981) is the CEO of the non-profit organization OF/BY/FOR ALL.[1] She was the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. She is the author of two books: The Participatory Museum, and The Art of Relevance.

Her work has been shared in the Wall Street Journal,[2] New York Times,[3] NPR, and TEDx.[4] Simon holds a B.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in electrical engineering and mathematics.[5] She currently resides in Santa Cruz, CA.[6]


During the majority of her career, Nina has worked as an independent consultant and exhibition designer with an expertise in social technology, gaming, and participatory design.[6] During this time she worked with over one hundred museums and cultural centers around the world. In addition to her professional work, she has served on advisory committees for IMLS and AAAS projects concerning the future of museums and libraries.[7]

Nina is perhaps best known for her work as an author and public speaker. Over the years she has spoken to a multitude of audiences about her participatory audience and programming philosophy. Most notably, she has appeared on TEDx, and was the Keynote Speaker at the 2012 AFTA/National Arts Marketing Project Conference.

Previously, Nina has held the position of Curator at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA and was the Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.[6] Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History,[8] as well as working as an adjunct professor at The University of Washington Museology Program, where she teaches a course on Social Technologies in Exhibition Design.[7] In addition, she is the principal of a design firm called Museum 2.0, which works internationally with museums, libraries, and cultural institutions to create educational programs and audience-driven exhibitions.[6] She also authors the Museum 2.0 blog which reaches around 16,000 readers weekly[9] and writes a column in Museum Magazine.[6] Nina is currently a board member of The Center for the Future of Museums.[7] Nina Simon on building community organizations OF, BY & FOR ALL.[10]

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

  • American Alliance for Museums’ Nancy Hanks Memorial Award (2012)[8]
  • Among the 50 most “powerful and influential people in nonprofit arts” (Western States Arts Federation, 2012 and 2013)[8]
  • Described as a Museum Visionary by Smithsonian Magazine for her audience-centered approach to design
  • Awarded an Ashoka Fellowship in 2019[11]
  • Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce "Woman of the Year" for 2017[12]


Simon is the author of The Participatory Museum (2010), The Art of Relevance (2016), and the Museum 2.0 blog.[13][14]


  1. ^ "Team - OF/BY/FOR ALL". Webpage. OF/BY/FOR ALL. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  2. ^ Gamerman, Ellen (2014-10-23). "Everybody's an Art Curator". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  3. ^ Jennifer Preston (March 16, 2011). "Speaking Digitally About Exhibits". Article. New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  4. ^ TEDx Talks (November 6, 2012). "Opening up the Museum: Nina Simon @ TEDxSantaCruz". YouTube Video. YouTube. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Lynn Peithman Stock (July 29, 2015). "Silicon Valley 40 under 40 2015: Nina Simon". Article. Bizjournals. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e "About the Author". Webpage. Nina Simon. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c "WPI to Present 'Museum Visionary' Nina Simon at Higgins Armory on Sept. 22". Webpage. Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Staff and Board Information". Webpage. Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  9. ^ "Speakers: Biography - Nina Simon". Webpage. Museums and the Web 2010. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  10. ^ "Nina Simon on building community organizations OF, BY & FOR ALL on June 14, 2018". Webpage. MuseumNext. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "Nina Simon". Ashoka | Everyone a Changemaker. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  12. ^ Sentinel |, Santa Cruz (2017-09-07). "Nina Simon, Rene Schlaepfer, Lance Linares honored by Santa Cruz Chamber". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  13. ^ Simon, Nina (2016-01-01). The art of relevance. ISBN 9780692701492.
  14. ^ Simon, Nina; Rae Atkins, Jennifer (2011-01-01). The participatory museum. Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0. ISBN 9780615346502.

External links[edit]