News from Smithsonian Leadership

In light of Deputy Secretary Sheila Burke’s departure, the Smithsonian announced the appointment of two acting Undersecretaries. Richard Kurin, who many affiliates know and love from his Hope Diamond book tour, has been named Acting Undersecretary for History and Culture. In addition to directing the Folklife Center and National Programs (where Affiliations is situated), Richard will also now oversee the National Museum of American History, African-American History and Culture, American Indian, the Anacostia & Postal Museums, and the Latino Center.

Allison McNally has been named Acting Undersecretary for Finance and Administration, overseeing the offices of the chief financial and information officers, human resources, and facilities’ operations. Click here for the full press release. Congratulations to them both!

Acting Secretary Cristián Samper discussed this and more last Friday at the National Press Club. Among the highlights of his talk, he reiterated his priority in rehabilitating the Arts and Industries Building, in reaching an increasingly diverse global population, and in leveraging Smithsonian research to address issues like environmental degradation.  He assured listeners that the Smithsonian is most definitely not in trouble given recent events.  Rather, every crisis presents great opportunity;  in our case, we are currently addressing issues of governance, the role of business ventures, and administrative controls.  Here’s the transcript – Samper speech to Nat’l Press Club

One of his most inspiring quotes was his very last one – “…look for the Smithsonian in your hometown.” Way to go Affiliates!!