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New York City Museums Reckoning with Eugenics: 2021 & 1921

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Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, moderates a conversation featuring leaders of New York City cultural institutions that rose to prominence in the Progressive Era—a time rooted in eugenicist ideology. Featured guests: Max Hollein, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cristián Samper, President of the Wildlife Conservation Fund; and Ellen Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History.


  • Ellen V. Futter

    Ellen V. Futter has been President of the American Museum of Natural History since 1993. During her tenure, the Museum has emphasized advancing scientific research and extending the role of museums more broadly in formal education and promoting science literacy among the general public, including, since 2020, providing COVID-19 public education programming and hosting an onsite public vaccination site since April 2021. Before joining the Museum, Futter served as President of Barnard College for 13 years.
  • Max Hollein

    Appointed Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in April 2018, Max Hollein is responsible for guiding the Museum’s artistic vision and all of its programming, research, and collection initiatives. An accomplished director for 20 years, Hollein oversees The Met’s curatorial, conservation, and scientific departments; exhibition and acquisition activities; education and public outreach; as well as the libraries, digital projects, publications, imaging, and design.

  • Dr. Cristián Samper

    Since 2012, Cristián Samper has served as President & CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which manages wildlife parks in New York and conservation programs in more than 60 countries. Previously, was Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and founding director of Colombia’s Alexander von Humboldt Institute. Board positions include Carnegie Institution for Science, CIAT-Bioversity Alliance, the Joyce Foundation and the Summit Foundation. Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Raised in Colombia, Samper studied biology at the Universidad de Los Andes and earned his MA and PhD from Harvard University.
  • Darren Walker

    Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $16 billion international social justice philanthropy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first non-profit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond to stabilize non-profit organizations in the wake of COVID-19.
    Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at Rockefeller Foundation. Previously, he was COO of Harlem’s Abyssinian Development Corporation.
    Darren co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on many boards, including the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the High Line, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Committee to Protect Journalists, Square, and Ralph Lauren.
    Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and received BA, BS, and JD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on numerous leadership lists including Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People and Out magazine’s Power 50. He is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees, Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal and was named the Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Philanthropy Innovator.