Featured Presenters



Dr. David Allison


Dr. David Allison
Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs
National Museum of American History

David K. Allison was appointed Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of American History, Behring Center in October 2009. He oversees the Museum’s collecting, research, and exhibition development, as well as NMAH’s involvement with Smithsonian Affiliates and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service. Formerly, David was Chairman of the Division of Information Technology and Communications, and was project director and chief curator for The Price of Freedom: Americans at War. In the past, he has also curated September 11, 2001: Bearing Witness to History; Deep Blue; Digilab: A Digital Imaging Laboratory; Behind the Lines: The Universal Product Code at 25, and Information Age: People, Information and Technology. David’s publications include: The Price of Freedom: Americans at War (exhibition catalog), “Preserving Software in History Museums: A Material Culture Approach,” in Ulf Hashagen, et. al., eds., History of Computing: Software Issues (Berlin: Spring 2002); “Universal Product Code in Perspective: Context for a Revolution,” in Alan L. Haberman, ed., Twenty-Five Years behind Bars (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001); The “ENIAC,” in Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society 63 (December 1999); “Archives of Data Processing: The National Museum of American History,” in Archives of Data Processing History (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990); and New Eye for the Navy: The Origin of Radar at the Naval Research Laboratory (Washington: GPO 1981).
 
David has a strong interest in exhibitions, and currently is project director for the upcoming exhibition, American Enterprise, that will survey the history of American business and innovation.




Bill Barker


Bill Barker
Thomas Jefferson Interpreter
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Bill Barker has enjoyed portraying Thomas Jefferson in a variety of settings over the past twenty years. He first began portraying Thomas Jefferson for Colonial Williamsburg in the spring of 1993. He has continued to appear as Jefferson at Williamsburg and assists in the development of Jefferson programs for the Foundation. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Bill’s interest in Thomas Jefferson reaches back to his youth. He enjoys researching the American world Jefferson knew with an interest in the role the man played and continues to play in our American identity. He has appeared as Jefferson in programs aired on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, The History Channel, and C-SPAN.




Dr. Lonnie Bunch


Dr. Lonnie Bunch
Director
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie G. Bunch, III is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. As a public historian, a scholar who brings history to the people, Bunch has spent nearly 30 years in the museum field where he is regarded as one of the nation’s leading figures in the historical and museum community. Prior to his July 2005 appointment as director of NMAAHC, Bunch, served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the nation’s oldest museums of history (January 2001-June 2005). Bunch has held several positions at the Smithsonian, and also served as the curator of history for the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles from 1983 to 1989. A prolific and widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, the American presidency and all black towns in the American west to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. His most recent book, “Call the Lost dream Back: Essays on Race, History and Museums” was published in 2010. Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association of State and Local History. Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2009.




Dr. Elizabeth Chew


Dr. Elizabeth Chew
Curator
Monticello

Elizabeth Chew is Curator at Monticello. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale, a master’s from the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all in art history. At Monticello she is involved with the research on and interpretation of the Monticello house, its collections, the Jefferson family, and the enslaved community. She curated the exhibitions “To Try All Things: Monticello as Experiment” at the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and “Crossroads: Domestic Work at Monticello,” in the lower level of the house, both of which consider the contributions of enslaved people. She has lectured and published widely on topics ranging from art collecting and domestic interiors to Jefferson and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Prior to coming to Monticello she worked for ten years in art museums in Washington, D.C., including the Smithsonian American Art Museum.




Dr. Barbara Clark Smith


Dr. Barbara Clark Smith
Curator, Division of Political History
National Museum of American History

Barbara Clark Smith is a Curator in the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. She is co-curator of the exhibition, Jefferson’s Bible, which opened in November 2011, and co-author of the introductory essay to The Jefferson Bible, Smithsonian Edition: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, published by Smithsonian Press, 2011. Smith has written scholarly books and articles on the topic of Revolutionary America and the early republic, most recently The Freedoms We Lost: Consent and Resistance in Revolutionary America, published by The New Press, 2010. She shares responsibility for political history collections representing the colonial and the founding eras and also collects materials from later time periods that reflect continuing popular participation in American politics. She has curated many exhibitions, including After the Revolution: Life in America 1780-1800 and Jamestown, Quebec and Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings.
 
She is currently working on a new exhibition, The Great Leap of Faith: Democracy in America, and on a new article on the Boston Tea Party.




Dr. Rex Ellis


Dr. Rex Ellis
Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Rex M. Ellis is the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs. Dr Ellis is responsible for planning, developing, directing, and managing all curatorial collections and educational programs. Under his leadership the curatorial and education teams develop, preserve, document, interpret scholarship and collections of the museum through exhibitions, education and public programs. Prior to this position, Dr. Ellis was the first African American Vice President for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation where he managed all programs and operations and served in this capacity for eight years. He received his B. A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, a M. A. from Wayne State University, a Masters of Divinity from Virginia Union University, and an Ed.D from the College of William and Mary.




Leslie Greene Bowman


Leslie Greene Bowman
President
Monticello

Leslie Greene Bowman is President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies. Former Director and CEO of Winterthur Museum and Country Estate (1999-2008). Ms. Bowman earned a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University of Ohio, before completing her Master of Arts degree in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Museum program. Most of her career was spent at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she rose to become head curator of decorative arts as well as assistant director of exhibition programs. During her seventeen-year tenure in Los Angeles she curated several exhibitions, lectured internationally, taught courses at both U.S.C. and U.C.L.A., and published two catalogues in addition to numerous articles. From 1997 to 1999, she was executive director of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. From 1993-2009 she served by presidential appointment on the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. She has served on the accreditation commission of the American Association of Museums and on the Board of Directors of the Association of Art Museum Directors. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a commissioner for Historic St. Mary’s City in Maryland.




Dr. Mark Hirsch


Dr. Mark Hirsch
Historian
National Museum of the American Indian

Mark Hirsch is an historian at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C, where he has worked since 2001. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian, Mark was a freelance writer for National Geographic (1989-1990), and a reporter for the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune (1985-1988). He received a Ph.D. in American history from Harvard University in 1984, and an M.A. from the Centre for Social History at the University of Warwick, England, in 1976. Mark’s most recent publications include: “The Native Peoples of Wisconsin,” in Daniel S. Murphree, ed., Native America: A State-by-State Historical Encyclopedia, Vol. 3 (Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, 2012), 1247-68; “To Break Up the Tribal Mass’: Teddy Roosevelt and American Indians,” National Museum of the American Indian Magazine (Spring 2010), 34-39; and “Thomas Jefferson: Founding Father of Indian Removal,” National Museum of the American Indian Magazine (Summer 2009), 55-58.




Karen Hughes White


Karen Hughes White
Monticello Panelist

Mrs. Karen Hughes White was born, raised, and now resides in Fauquier County, Virginia. She is a descendant of free and enslaved African-Americans of Virginia dating to the early 1700s. White co-founded the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County (AAHA) in 1992 and now operates as its President and Executive Director. The AAHA operates a museum of African American history in addition to a resource library and genealogical research center. She is a participant in the Getting Word Project sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation and Africans in America produced by WGBS Boston, Massachusetts and was nominated as an Every Day Hero by WBLA Channel 7.




Shannon Lanier


Shannon Lanier
Monticello Panelist

Shannon Lanier is a correspondent/senior producer for Black Enterprise Magazine’s ‘Black Enterprise Business Report’ but started his TV career as a teenager on the Emmy award winning TV show ‘Real Exchange’ as co-host. Today he also hosts the web segment ‘Celebrity Hustle’. At only 19 years of year, the Cincinnati native co‐authored the Random House book Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family. As a 9th generation descendant of President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, he’s toured around the world discussing his family and living out his true passions of being a public figure and TV personality. Lanier is a Kent State University graduate and finds time to be an active member of his church, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and the National Association of Black Journalists.




Marc Pachter


Marc Pachter
Interim Director
National Museum of American History

Marc Pachter was appointed interim director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and will serve until a permanent director is named. In 2007, Pachter retired from the Smithsonian Institution after a 33-year career, most recently as director of the National Portrait Gallery, the nation’s only museum of American biography and portraiture.
 

Previously he served as acting director of the National Museum of American History for 13 months (November 2001-December 2002). As director of the Portrait Gallery, Pachter oversaw the reopening of the museum, part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, after an extensive six-year renovation of the National Historic Landmark building. From 1990 to 1994, he was the Smithsonian’s deputy assistant secretary for external affairs, overseeing Smithsonian magazine, Smithsonian Institution Press, and membership and development programs. Later he was appointed counselor to the Secretary of the Smithsonian and chair of the Institution’s 150th anniversary in 1996. He was awarded the Secretary’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Service in 1999. Pachter has written and edited a number of books, including Abroad in America: Visitors to the New Nation, Champions of American Sport, Documentary History of the Supreme Court, Telling Lives: The Biographer’s Art and A Gallery of Presidents.




Harry Rubenstein


Harry Rubenstein
Chair and Curator, Division of Political History
National Museum of American History

Harry R. Rubenstein is the Chair of the Division of Political History the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He is the co-curator of the new exhibition, Jefferson’s Bible that opened in November 2011 and the publication, The Jefferson Bible, Smithsonian Edition: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, published by Smithsonian Press, 2011. As a curator in the museum’s political history division, Rubenstein shares responsibility for the political history, reform movements, civil rights, and labor history collections. He has curated or co-curated more than twenty exhibitions including: Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life; Separate is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education; The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden; We the People: Winning the Vote; and Communities in a Changing Nation: The Promise of 19th Century America.

He is currently working on two new exhibitions, Marching Toward Freedom: The Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the March on Washington (1963) and The Great Leap of Faith: Democracy in America.




Dr. Dianne Swann-Wright


Dr. Dianne Swann-Wright
Historian
The Getting Word Project

Dianne Swann-Wright is a historian and museum consultant. Over the past 25 years she has worked in public and private museums in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania. At Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello she directed African American and Special Programs while also serving as project historian for the Getting Word Oral History Project. Dr. Swann-Wright has chaired a number of institutional research committees, curated art and history exhibits and written magazine and journal articles on topics focusing on African American men, women and children. She is the author of A Way Out of No Way, Claiming Family and Freedom in the New South (University of Virginia Press, 2001).




Jacqueline Yurkoski


Jacqueline Yurkoski
Monticello Panelist

Jacqueline Yurkoski is a first year at The Ohio State University majoring in Molecular Genetics and planning on earning a minor in Neuroscience. After her undergraduate education, she plans on attending medical school and pairing that experience with oversea residency or study abroad, a wonderful way to concentrate her studies more closely on the study and development of third-world health care. Since beginning college, she has gotten very involved in clubs such as Black Students Association, a youth group and athletics. Jacqueline has been able to continue her long swimming career by playing on The Ohio State Women’s Water Polo Team. Though her academic and professional aspirations are important to her, Jacqueline’s family is the most important thing in her life. She resides in Cleveland with her two younger sisters, Madeline (17) and Carolyn (16), parents, Tom and Brenda and Speck, the family dog, all whom she loves very, very much.