What is the museum’s role in society? How does – and can – the museum function as a civic space? Dr. Anthea Hartig, the first woman director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, recently sat down with Civics for Life to briefly discuss these and other questions.
Anthea M. Hartig is the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the first woman to hold the position since the museum opened in 1964. Hartig oversees 231 employees, a budget of over $54.5 million and a collection that includes 1.8 million objects and more than three shelf-miles of archives. She officially began her tenure Feb. 18, 2019.
An award-winning public historian and cultural heritage expert, Hartig is the president-elect of the Organization of American Historians. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she served as the executive director and CEO of the California Historical Society in San Francisco. Hartig is a third-generation native of Southern California, where she grew up in the greater Pomona Valley. She earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in history at the University of California, Riverside, her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Los Angeles and studied as an undergraduate and graduate student at the College of William and Mary.