The Obama Foundation has announced that Louise Bernard, the director of exhibitions at the New York Public Library, was named the director of the museum of the Obama Presidential Center. Bernard will oversee the design, development, and operation of the institution.
“One of the key aspects of the Obama Presidential Center is a museum that does not just tell the story of the Obama Administration, but inspires individuals and communities to take on our biggest challenges,” said Obama Foundation CEO David Simas. “We are excited for Louise to join our team and help us develop a museum that is active and engaging.”
Prior to joining the New York Public Library, Bernard was a senior content developer and interpretive planner in the New York office of the museum design firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates, where she worked on the design team that developed the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Previously, she served as curator of prose and drama for the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale, and as an assistant professor of English at Georgetown University. Bernard received her Ph.D. in African American studies and American studies from Yale University, as well as master’s degrees in theater history and English literature from Indiana University-Bloomington. She is currently a scholarly advisor to the International African American Museum in Charleston.
“I’m honored to work alongside such a talented team at the Obama Foundation, and to have the opportunity to help guide and shape a museum that is a truly innovative social and cultural institution,” said Bernard. “I look forward in bringing President and Mrs. Obama’s remarkable story to the broadest possible audience, and to highlighting the crucial role of civic engagement in a way that is meaningful and inspiring to local South Side residents, and to people across the country and around the world.”