Sean Kelley

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Sean Kelley is Senior Vice President and Director of Interpretation at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in Philadelphia. He produced the site’s award-winning audio tour, now heard by more than a million visitors, and has curated more than 100 site-specific artist installations in the building. He conceived and developed The Big Graph, a 16-foot infographic sculpture that illustrates the skyrocketing US Rate of Incarceration, and curated the companion exhibit Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration which won the 2017 Overall Award for Excellence from the American Alliance of Museums. From 2017 to 2019 he oversaw “Hidden Lives Illuminated,” a project which resulted in 20 original films made by currently incarcerated individuals and projected them for a month onto Eastern State Penitentiary’s façade. Mr. Kelley visits active prisons and writes critically about prison museums and sites of detention.  He speaks widely on the responsibility of museums to address controversial and painful subjects, as well as the ethical and management challenges posed by large-scale fundraising events in sites with complex histories.  He has served as adjunct faculty at Rutgers University, teaching Museum Studies in the graduate program in Public History, and at the University of Pennsylvania.