Profile profile for BellF

Felicia Bell, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor

Bell is the senior advisor to Dr. Anthea M. Hartig, the Elizabeth MacMillan Director at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. A public historian and museum field leader, Bell began her appointment on March 2, 2020 with responsibility for enacting the museum’s 2020 Strategic Plan. In addition, she led the American Alliance of Museums re-accreditation process for the museum—its first in 15 years. Currently, she is detailed to the Smithsonian’s Race, Community and Our Shared Future initiative.

Previously, Bell was the Director of Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum where she formulated policies, developed a strategic plan, cultivated over $100,000 in gifts, and oversaw all operations of the museum. Prior to that, she was an Assistant Professor of History and the inaugural Director of Honors at Savannah State University. During her tenure there, she introduced museum studies courses into the curriculum and received the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Museum Internship Program Grant from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Bell has also served as the Director of Education and Outreach at the Coastal Heritage Society in Savannah, Georgia and at the U. S. Capitol Historical Society in Washington, DC. While in Washington, Bell curated a nationally traveling exhibition, provided expert witness testimony to Congress for the recognition of enslaved labor used to construct the U. S. Capitol building in Washington, DC, and served on the National Capital Planning Committee’s Environmental Impact Statement for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She has received numerous awards and honors including recognition by the House of Representatives of the State of Alabama “for her record of excellence as the Director of the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University Montgomery” and the 2020 Citizen of the Year Award from the Montgomery (AL) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Bell is also a contributing author in The Future Emerges from the Past: Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama African American History and Culture (2019) and a contributing editor to A Girl Named Rosa: The True Story of Rosa Parks (2018).

Dr. Bell earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Savannah State University, a Master of Arts in historic preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in U. S. history from Howard University in Washington, DC. When she is not working at a museum or visiting one, she enjoys traveling to other countries, antique buying, outdoor concerts, and supporting HBCUs.