Susan Fruchter was named the Interim Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History upon the retirement of museum Director John Gray in May 2018. She has previously served as the Deputy Director of the National Museum of American History since October 2012. Together as a team, Gray and Fruchter developed and achieved a visionary five-year strategic plan, opened 80,000 square feet of new exhibition and programmatic space, led the museum’s scholarly revitalization and managed the museum’s extraordinary fundraising effort, with $150 million in support. Their efforts have resulted in a museum that features exhibitions that present an impactful look at the context of the country’s founding and evolution today with wings devoted to American innovation and democracy, the hiring of more than 20 curatorial and collections management staff as well as strengthening and expanding digital access to the national collections and innovative educational and programmatic efforts, both in the museum and across the U.S.
Prior to joining the museum, Fruchter was the Director for Operations at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History from 2002 to 2012. She was responsible for museum-wide operations including the formulation and execution of federal and trust budgets, facilities operations and planning, information technology systems and services and human resources management. Fruchter has also served as Counselor to the Under Secretary and Director, Policy and Strategic Planning for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1994 to 2001 and held various positions at NASA from 1980 to 1994. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science and Russian from Tufts University and a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University.