Welcome to the National Museum of American History's Tenth Director

Anthea Hartig
Incoming museum director Anthea M. Hartig. Photo by Roman Cho.

As the Interim Director of the National Museum of American History, it is my pleasure to introduce all of you to Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D., who was appointed the new Elizabeth MacMillan Director on Dec. 13, 2018. Her bold leadership is perfectly suited for the time in which we live and the museum’s increasingly inclusive and innovative exhibitions and programming.

Dr. Hartig will serve as the Museum’s 10th director and is the first woman to hold that position since the building opened in 1964. She is looking forward to joining the museum on Feb. 18, 2019.

“I’m a dedicated public historian and a dedicated public servant, and this position is the highest calling of my profession.” -Anthea Hartig

Under her leadership, we will open three exhibitions in 2019 and 2020 that are part of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative #BecauseOfHerStory: “All Work, No Pay,” “Creating Icons: How We Remember Women’s Suffrage” and “Girlhood! (It’s Complicated).” Dr. Hartig will oversee the care of some 1.8 million objects and more than three shelf-miles of archival collections and will lead our efforts to ensure that our roughly 4 million on-site and 8.5 million online visitors have the best experiences possible.

Dr. Hartig will complete the museum’s 120,000-square-foot west wing renewal that includes recently-opened galleries focused on American innovation and democracy plus upcoming arts and culture exhibitions, most importantly “Entertaining America,” set to open in 2021. She will also work closely with the Smithsonian Latino Center to open the Molina Family Latino Gallery in 2021, which will feature bilingual exhibits exploring the history and contributions of the richly diverse Latinx heritage in the United States.

A third-generation Californian, Dr. Hartig served as the Executive Director and CEO of the California Historical Society for the last seven years, an institution she transformed into a vibrant, relevant organization for the San Francisco Bay area and the entire state.

As a public historian, professor, author and city planner, Dr. Hartig is dedicated to making history accessible and relevant. Highlighting a deep commitment to public and volunteer service, she served as chair of the State Historical Resources Commission under California Gov. Gray Davis. Dr. Hartig’s work was recognized in 2011 with the prestigious California Preservationist of the Year Award for “outstanding contributions, exceptional achievements and more than 25 years of service in the field of historic preservation in California.”

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Hartig to Washington and to the Smithsonian family.

Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post.

Sue Fruchter

Sue Fruchter,
Interim Director