Valeska M. Hilbig

Deputy Director

Master of Arts in Public History, New Mexico State University

Role in Museum: 

The Office of Public Affairs serves as central point for disseminating information about the Museum to the media and to the public via the Smithsonian's VIARC. We promote exhibitions, donations, events, research and staff through strategic publicity campaigns, marketing, advertising, calendar submissions and more.

The office tracks and responds to all incoming media queries; develops strategies for effective proactive information about museum activities; coordinates documentary film crews, approves outside media releases by agencies/donors, approves advertisements promoting exhibitions and public programs and handles any crisis issues.

Among the events that public affairs stages are press previews, press conferences, exhibition dedication ceremonies, donation ceremonies (usually involving objects and sometimes celebrity donors) and press luncheons.

The office also facilitates all interviews with the director and curators and is responsible for coordinating and scheduling all media, documentary and commercial film crews.

Projects: 

The Office of Public Affairs is involved with all staff, collecting areas and projects at the Museum. I appreciate the variety my job offers me on a daily basis and being able to work with all kinds of interesting people.

Some of my favorite work has been with Julia Child's Kitchen, Jazz Appreciation Month, Lunchboxes, the 300th anniversary of the invention of the Piano, and collecting the Alien egg.

The conservation treatment of the Star-Spangeld Banner, the flag that inspired the national anthem, is especially interesting as it combines history and science.

Professional Affiliations: 
  • Public Relations Society of America
  • Washington Women in Public Relations