Staff & Board

The Mitchell Museum’s mission is supported through a small, active board and staff that works to provide the experience of American Indians communities across and the Chicagoland and beyond.

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian Board

  • Jan Berkson, President
  • Susan Salisbury, Vice President
  • Kenneth Traisman, Treasurer 
  • April Chancellor, Secretary
  • Jackie McGuire
  • Joyce Niederman
  • Carol LaMar
  • Tom Berreth Gwich’in, Athabaskan
  • Melvin Masquat Navajo, Winnebago, Kickapoo

Kim Vigue

Executive Director

Joseph Gackstetter

Collections Manager and Visitor Services


Born in Rockford, IL, Joseph went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and History at Southern Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Museum and Artifact Studies at Durham University in the UK. As a student, he did an extensive study on wood carvings from the Northwest Coast with the help and consultation of Coast Salish master carver, Felix Solomon. Joseph also participated in archaeological research in Southern Illinois around Cahokia. He joined the Mitchell Museum in the summer of 2018.

Rachel Niemann



Rachel is a local, growing up and currently residing in Evanston, IL.  She joined the museum in 2015, after visiting the museum with her daughter.  Rachel enjoys the educational aspect of the museum.  Her favorite exhibit is: Stunning Stories in Native American Jewelry.

Josee Starr

Director of Operations


Josee is an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes) of North Dakota and also represents the Omaha Nation of Nebraska and Wiikwemkoong First Nation from Ontario, Canada. She grew up in the greater Chicago American Indian Community, learning her culture and traditional values. She has worked as an independent artist, and her background is in Cultural Education. She has been with the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian since December 2019.