Nancy Yao Named the Founding Director of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum

Nancy Yao has been named the founding director of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. As founding director, Yao will oversee the conception and development of a 21st-century museum, including sourcing a national collection, curating permanent and current exhibitions, and creating educational resources accessible virtually before the physical museum is built in Washington, D.C.

“I am humbled and elated to join the Smithsonian as the founding director of the American Women’s History Museum,” Yao said. “I look forward to partnering with colleagues to leverage the Smithsonian’s magnificent portfolio of museums, educational resources, and research — and its incomparable collections. Museums play a critical role at the nexus of scholarship and public access. Creating voice for the stories of American women will take intentional conversations, creative inputs, and energetic curation.”

Since 2015, Yao has served as the president of the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City. She is also a lecturer on governance of not-for-profit organizations at Yale University’s David Geffen School of Drama.

Yao is a graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

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