CDM Director of Strategic Initiatives Receives Prestigious National Award

Jenni Martin recognized for her equity and inclusion practices in the museum field

Jenni Martin, director of strategic initiatives at Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose, is being recognized for her leadership and excellence on diversity and inclusion practices in the museum field by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). AAM is the only organization that represents the entire museum community. Honorees receive awards for their exceptional impact on the field and the role they play in building strong museums, thriving communities, and a better world.

“The hallmark of Jenni’s nearly 30-year career has been about making our museum and museums across the country more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse,” said Marilee Jennings, executive director of Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. “Jenni’s work has helped transform how museums think about and serve their communities. I am grateful for Jenni’s contributions to the museum world. She deserves this recognition.”

Jenni MartinMartin joined Children’s Discovery Museum in 1997 as director of education. During her tenure, she spearheaded efforts to welcome and expand the museum’s impact on Latino, Vietnamese, LGBTQ+, and Autism communities. These initiatives reshaped the exhibits, programs, events, operations, communications and governance functions. She helped create the Cultural Celebration Series that now includes 10 annual festivals in partnership with community advisors. In 2019, Martin envisioned Common Ground, a community project involving immigrants from many countries. This resulted in a permanent museum exhibit and a traveling pop-up titled, A Seat at the Table. Today, she is helping lead the Nowruz Initiative with 30 community advisors.

Martin co-created CCLI, the Cultural Competent Learning Institute in 2013 to help museums across the country transform their equity, access, inclusion and diversity efforts. In 2020, CCLI, in partnership with the San Francisco-based Exploratorium, launched Cambio, a cohort program focused on Latinx audiences. Together, CCLI and Cambio have served 47 museums and 147 individuals. Soon the institute will offer an online curriculum to reach even more museum professionals, Actionable Insights.

About Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

Kids lead the way at Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, exploring and discovering through open-ended, play-based learning. Over 150 hands-on exhibits and programs in the sciences, humanities, arts, nature, and health spark curiosity and ignite family fun where children build life skills in creative and critical thinking, problem-solving, and confidence.

The nonprofit celebrates people and diverse cultures, creates authentic connections, and builds global understanding. Welcoming more than 10 million visitors since 1990, the award-winning museum inspires creativity, curiosity, and lifelong learning inside the stunning 50,000-square- foot purple building designed by the late world-renowned Mexico City architect Ricardo Legoretta, and outside in the half-acre nature space.

For more information about the museum, visit

American Alliance of Museums (AAM)

The American Alliance of Museums’ mission is to champion equitable and impactful museums by connecting people, fostering learning and community, and nurturing museum excellence.

Our vision is a just and sustainable world informed and enriched by thriving museums that contribute to the resiliency and equity of their communities.

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is the only organization representing the entire museum field, from art and history museums to science centers and zoos. Since 1906, we have been championing museums through advocacy and providing museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration, and connections they need to move the field forward.

Our Alliance of 35,000 museums and museum professionals seeks to better our communities, and our world, through collaborative human-centered experiences, education, and connection to histories, cultures, the natural world, and one another. Our members spark curiosity and wonder, widen horizons and understanding, and create community connection through a shared commitment to equity and learning.

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