Anthea Hartig, Smithsonian National Museum of American History Director, Assumes Presidency of OAH

April 26, 2023

Dr. Anthea Hartig, the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., has begun a one-year term as President of the OAH. Hartig assumed the presidency on April 1, 2023, after having served as President-elect of OAH in 2021-22, and as Vice President of the organization in 2020-21. She succeeds Erika Lee, the Regents Professor of History at the University of Minnesota.

Appointed in 2019 as Director for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Hartig is the first woman to hold that position since the museum opened in 1964, overseeing a collection that includes 1.8 million objects and more than three shelf-miles of archives. An award-winning public historian and cultural heritage expert, she previously served as the executive director and CEO of the California Historical Society in San Francisco.

“It is a humbling honor to serve the OAH and the richly diverse community of historians at a critical time in the nation’s understanding of its past, present, and future,” Hartig shared. “I am grateful to Dr. Erika Lee for her leadership and am determined to continue stewarding the organization on a path of engagement and relevance,” she added.

“As the steward of our national history museum—and the rich, complex, and inclusive story of our shared past that it presents—Anthea Hartig brings to the position a depth and breadth of experience that will advance the mission of OAH in innovative and vibrant ways,” said Beth English, Executive Director of OAH. “We express our profound gratitude to Erika Lee for her exceptional leadership of OAH over the past year, and are excited to welcome Anthea, one of the nation’s leading public historians, to the presidency of the organization.”

Also assuming executive leadership roles are David Blight, Yale University’s Sterling Professor of History, African American Studies & American Studies, who will serve as President-elect; and Annette Gordon-Reed, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University, who will serve as Vice President. Per OAH governance, the organization’s executive officers serve for a total of five years, one year each as Vice President, President-elect, and President, and two years as past president.