Cultural institutions are critical members of our civil society, making life better for all of us. As preservers and interpreters, they connect people with culture, history and one another, helping us better understand our own stories to improve our communities.
Collaboration and open exchange is the bedrock of success. Each project is born from the ability of its participants to bring their best to the process by learning from one another in the pursuit of a common goal.
Every project must be seen as a challenge to do something important. Even the most esoteric or niche topic can provoke a revelatory experience that can change a person’s worldview.
I grew up in the Washington, DC area, bouncing between museums, the outdoors, band practice and Boy Scout meetings. I stayed close for college, but curiosity led me to travel widely and live abroad. I left DC for good (or so I thought) in 2003 to attend graduate school in Budapest, and, later, moved to New York to pursue a PhD.
I trained as a historian of east and central Europe, specializing in Jewish history, the Cold War and international philanthropy. My historical interests range broadly and include individual and group identity, the history and culture of technological innovation, nationalism, and the built environment.
While still in graduate school, I cut my teeth as a curator at a small museum in New York, developing exhibitions on the intersection of Jewish art and history. I worked on diverse topics such as amateur travel films, comic books, textile art, and the effect of religion on architecture and urban history. Frequently working on a shoestring (and sometimes less), I produced gallery films and digital interactives, cultivated the museum’s online identity, and oversaw up to eight exhibition installations annually.
I returned to Washington to develop the core exhibition for a new museum of Jewish history and culture. As part of this work, I wrote grants for subjects including federal funding for the new museum, oral histories, art installations, and architectural walking tours. I oversaw content testing, published numerous pieces for regional blogs, and spoke frequently to the public. Among my most memorable adventures was rescuing Washington’s only known synagogue mural.
In 2015, I became a full-time consultant helping museums and cultural organizations with a variety of exhibition and educational projects, including curating the core exhibition for a historic synagogue in downtown Tucson, AZ. A year later, I joined the team at the National Building Museum as Director of Exhibitions and Collections where I currently oversee exhibition and collections development, project management, and production.
I am a member of several social and professional organizations, notably as Vice Chair of the Council of American Jewish Museums (2013-present).