Smithsonian Journeys Experts
Ahmad Ward is the Executive Director for the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park located on Hilton Head Island, SC. The mission of the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park is to preserve, promote and honor Historic Mitchelville, the first self-governed town of formerly enslaved people in the United States. Ward is responsible for implementing the Mitchelville master plan, that will recreate this historic town as an interpretative site. The Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park will convey this important story of freedom and citizenship to visitors from around the country.
Prior to this position, Ward spent fifteen years leading the Education Department at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham Alabama. It is there where he honed his expertise in telling the story of civil and human rights in America, with a focus on historic analysis and application to current social justice issues. With Masters-level training and years of experience in exhibition design, he brings a strong understanding of storytelling and the importance of technology in interpretation. He has been responsible for creating programming partnerships with local schools, universities and organizations; teacher and student resources; written articles, blogs and essays for local, national and international platforms as well as the development of public programming for community-at-large in the areas of civil and human rights movements, multiculturalism and contemporary human rights issues.
Ward is a native of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He received a BA in Art from Elizabeth City State University and a MA in Museum Studies from Hampton University. He is a Board member of the Association of African American Museums, a member of Rotary of Hilton Head Island Club and the Southeastern Museums Conference Jekyll Island Management Institute (JIMI) Selection Board. He is a former member of the Smithsonian Affiliates Advisory Board. His hobbies include drawing, watching sports, cooking, sleep (when possible) and fantasy football. He and his wife, Dafina have two brilliant daughters, Masani Ashiya and Aminah Elon.
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