The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced the appointment of Kara S. Blond as the Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries, effective July 18, 2022.
Ms. Blond joins the National Archives as a seasoned museum executive with extensive experience in public engagement, research and collections, and museum operations. Since 2017, she has served as Executive Director of the Capital Jewish Museum, where she led the effort to envision, plan, fund and build a new museum about identity, community and civic engagement in the nation’s capital. Ms. Blond oversaw strategic and operational planning, a $35M capital campaign, cutting-edge exhibition and program development, design and construction of a new facility, and restoration of a landmark historic site.
Previously, Ms. Blond served as Director of Exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where she provided strategic direction for the exhibitions and public engagement program and managed key national and global partnerships. She also led the Deep Time initiative, the museum’s largest renovation, extended education, and research program. Earlier in her career, Ms. Blond oversaw exhibition development at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. In total, she spent over fifteen years at the Smithsonian Institution. Ms. Blond began her career as a reporter at Newsday in New York.
Ms. Blond received a master’s degree in Education: Learning Design and Technology from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania.
Debra Steidel Wall, Acting Archivist of the United States, said of the appointment, “Ms. Blond’s extensive leadership and professional background in the museum community make her a natural choice to lead the Office of Presidential Libraries, and I look forward to working with her to advance NARA’s mission through the Presidential Library system.”
The Office of Presidential Libraries oversees the 15 Presidential Libraries in the Presidential Library system administered by NARA. Presidential Libraries promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience. They preserve and provide access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire.