Photo: Lesley Villarreal

About Shelley Bernstein


I'm the Executive Director at the Big Bend Conservation Alliance, working to conserve the living heritage and unique natural and cultural resources of the greater Big Bend region of Texas. Here's a bit more about my role at BBCA. I also head up a volunteer-run organization, Marfa Steps Up, which has been helping my community during COVID-19.

OF/BY/FOR ALL 20182020

Head of Product/CTO. OF/BY/FOR ALL is a non-profit startup which helps civic and cultural orgs become of, by, and for their communities. I coordinated the digital tool set that this startup's team needed to help client organizations make audience change. 


Barnes Foundation 20162018

Deputy Director of Audience Engagement and Chief Experience Officer. A role to deepen a visitor’s engagement before, during, and after a visit to the Barnes. I oversaw the areas of visitor experience, digital and technology, audience evaluation, community engagement, public programming, and editorial.

Brooklyn Museum 1999—2016

Vice Director of Digital Engagement & Technology. I oversaw information technology while spearheading digital initiatives with public participation at their center. Projects included an app which enabled visitors ask questions using their mobile devices with experts giving answers in real time and several participatory exhibitions, which involved thousands of people taking part. 

Selected Projects

Highlighted Speaking

Innovating Intentionally | June 29, 2017 | Philadelphia

Opening Keynote. Barra Foundation. [video]

AAM 2017 | May 8, 2017 | St. Louis

Session: Better Flow for a Better Experience

MCN 2016 | November 4, 2016 | New Orleans

Session: The View from the Top: An Executive Roundtable on Technology, Digital Transformation, Organizational Change and the Future of Museums

MCG Museums+Tech 2016 | October 19, 2016 | London

Closing Keynote: How to Change the Tires on a Moving Truck 


CanUX | November 7-8, 2015 | Ottawa

Keynote: Visitor Experience as a Catalyst for Institutional Change

MuseumNext | September 25-26, 2015 | Indianapolis

Keynote: Exploring ASK Brooklyn Museum [video]

Some Press

"Artificial Intelligence, Like a Robot, Enhances Museum Experiences." New York Times. October 25, 2018.


"Art Team is Barnes Foundation's Newest Twist on Visitor Engagement." Philadelphia Inquirer. March 1, 2018.

"Barnes Foundation teams with Mural Arts' re-entry program." Philadelphia Inquirer. February 27, 2018. 

"The Famously Photo-Wary Barnes Foundation Makes Its Art More Accessible Online." Hyperallergic. November 9, 2017.

"Barnes Foundation teams with Indego to put great works of art on Philly Bikes." Philadelphia Inquirer. August 23, 2017.

"Follow the Data: Episode 2 featuring the Brooklyn Museum." Bloomberg Philanthropies Podcast. June 3, 2016.

"Barnes Foundation Gets a New CEO—That's Chief Experience Officer" CBS Philly. May 20, 2016.

"Shelley Bernstein Moves to the Barnes Foundation." Art F City. May 10, 2016.

"Who's in Charge at the Brooklyn Museum? It Could Be You." New York Times. April 29, 2016.

"The Brooklyn Museum's App Acts Like AI, but There Are Humans Behind It." The Verge. April 22, 2016.

The Brave New Museum Sputters into Life.” Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2015

Culture Techies Look to Strike a Delicate Balance.” Crain’s New York Business, September 18, 2014

Museums See Different Virtues in Virtual Worlds.” New York Times, August 7, 2014

Brooklyn Museum Tests a Democratic Model.” Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2013

"Using New Tools, Mapping Old Brooklyn." New York Times, July 7, 2011

The Spirit of Sharing.” New York Times, March 17, 2011

Brooklyn Museum Experiments with First Impressions.” New York Times, February 11, 2011

40 Under 40.” Crain's New York Business, March 2010

Latest Art Tech-Nique: Museum Lets Phones Guide You.” New York Post, September 2, 2009

Rodin-ternet! Brooklyn Museum's Digital Docent Peddles Art to Peoria.” New York Observer, January 27, 2009