AUGUSTA — The First Amendment Museum has announced the appointment of new board officers and members, including naming Gene Policinski, senior fellow for the First Amendment for the Freedom Forum, to succeed museum Co-Founder Genie Gannett as board president.

Policinski, FAM’s newly elected board president, has been a member of FAM’s board of directors since 2020. Policinski is a founding editor of USA Today and a longtime proponent of diversity as an essential element of a free press. Policinski joined the Freedom Forum in 1996 as executive assistant to the president and retired in 2020 as president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute.

Policinski is also the former COO of the Newseum, a national trustee of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and a member of multiple journalism associations, including the News Leaders Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He holds a Certified Journalism Educator designation from the Journalism Education Association.

“The five freedoms of the First Amendment power and protect the open discussion and vigorous debate that is vital for a self-governing people,” explained Policinski. “The First Amendment Museum is the right institution at a critical moment in our nation’s history to educate and remind our fellow citizens of those freedoms — and of the responsibilities that are inherent in them.”

Succeeding Policinski as board secretary is Janet Marstine, a board member of FAM since spring 2022. She is honorary associate professor of Museum Studies (retired), University of Leicester, U.K., and is an independent scholar and consultant based in Yarmouth. She writes on diverse aspects of museum ethics, from curatorial ethics to negotiating the pressures of self-censorship to artists’ interventions as drivers for ethical change.

Marstine has done ethics consulting with institutions from the National September 11 Memorial Museum to the Royal Air Force Museum, and she has served on advisory boards for the U.K.’s National Holocaust Centre and Museum and the E.U.-funded research project Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritage with the Arts. Marstine serves on the board of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine.

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The FAM also appointed Rex VanMiddlesworth as a member of the board of directors. VanMiddlesworth spends his summers in midcoast Maine, and is a senior counsel at O’Melveny in Austin, Texas. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, administrative law, energy, and alternative dispute resolution.

The First Amendment Museum, 184 State St., is open year-round for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

 

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