Bonnie Styles

Executive Director, Association of Science Museum Directors


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Dr. Bonnie Styles has served as the Executive Director of the Association of Science Museum Directors (ASMD) since 2017 and before that served as their President and Secretary. She served on the Visiting Science Committee for the National Museum of Natural History in 2020. She has served on the Smithsonian Institution’s Native American Repatriation Review Committee since 2018. She was appointed as an adjunct Research Associate in Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History in 2018 and was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University (2017-2020). She was named as Director Emeritus and an Adjunct Research Associate of the Illinois State Museum (ISM) System in 2015. After serving in progressively responsible positions of Anthropology Chair, Director of Sciences, and Associate Director, she directed the ISM system for 10 years. For over 20 years, she also led the ISM’s interdisciplinary Landscape History Research Program, which studied long-term changes in climate, landforms, plant and animal communities, and human interactions with the land. She brought in numerous federal grants from the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services and other funds to support and develop ISM research, educational programs, and exhibitions. She is a champion for the value of interdisciplinary research and informal science education and environmental sustainability in museums.

She is also a leader in the scientific community. She has served as President of the Midwest Archaeological Conference and the Illinois Archaeological Survey and on the Society for American Archaeology Board. She was the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Quaternary Association for 14 years. She received the Distinguished Career Award from the Midwest Archaeological Conference in 2018. She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Geological Society of America, and Illinois State Academy of Science.

She has a BA in anthropology from Arizona State University, a M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Northwestern University, and her specialty is zooarchaeology. Her research explores the interplay among climate change, landscape evolution, and changes in human subsistence practices in the Interior Eastern United States. She has 75 publications dealing with archaeological and museum themes.