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Shannon D. O'Dell
Regents' Proceedings

Shannon D. O’Dell, M.A., curator in the School of Dentistry, retired from active faculty status on June 15, 2021.

Ms. O’Dell received her B.S. degree in anthropology at Oregon State University in 1980. She accepted a professional museum curatorship shared with the DeWitt Historical Society of Tompkins County and the Hinckley Foundation Decorative Arts Museum in Ithaca, N.Y. During her employment, she returned briefly to the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho to complete her M.A. degree in anthropology in 1990 in historical archaeology and museum studies. Ms. O’Dell completed her thesis Burial Garments of Central New York, 1790-1920.

Ms. O’Dell joined the staff of the University of Michigan Libraries in 1995 as an information resources associate in the Preservation Division. Ms. O’Dell joined the faculty of the School of Dentistry in 2003 as an assistant curator for the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry. She was promoted to curator in 2004, taking on the leadership of the museum at that time. During her tenure as curator, Ms. O’Dell integrated museum standards to revitalize or create professionally designed exhibits for the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry. During Ms. O’Dell’s tenure at the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, the collection doubled, while she researched and installed more than 12 exhibitions. Her research on early women dentists, particularly those who graduated from Michigan, culminated in the exhibition, Women Dentists: Changing the Face of Dentistry (2012). Ms. O’Dell published “Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, 1992-2017” as a chapter for the book, Object Lessons & the Formation of Knowledge: The University of Michigan Museums, Libraries & Collections 1817-2017 edited by Kerstin Barndt and Carla M. Sinopoli (University of Michigan Press, 2017).

Ms. O’Dell has appeared as a panel or guest speaker or led tours for several University of Michigan classes eager to learn about museums on campus. She has been an active member of several professional organizations and presented papers for the Medical Museums Association and the American Academy of the History of Dentistry. In 2017, Ms. O’Dell completed a two-year term as president of the Medical Museums Association and was recognized by the American Academy of the History of Dentistry receiving the national honorary award, the Hayden-Harris Award for distinguished contributions to the history of dentistry.

The Regents now salute this distinguished faculty member by naming Shannon D. O’Dell, curator emerita.