[Skip to Content]




Louise Bernard

Louise Bernard

Founding Director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center

Louise Bernard is the founding Director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center. She was formerly Director of Exhibitions at the New York Public Library. As a Senior Content Developer and Interpretive Planner in the New York office of the international museum design firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates, she worked on the design team that developed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution (the last museum to open on the National Mall), along with pro bono projects such as a visualized concept study for the Wangari Muta Maathai House in Nairobi, Kenya. She previously served as Curator of Prose and Drama for the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University where she worked on all aspects of stewardship, including collection development, establishing Library policies and best practices, mounting exhibitions and special events, teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students, building donor relations, and helping to implement the Beinecke Fellows program. At the Beinecke she also co-curated the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of African American Arts and Letters, and helped to establish the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prize, awarded for the first time in the spring of 2013, and which is now one of the largest literary prizes in the world. As Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American and Post-Colonial Literature, and served as Co-Director of the Georgetown Lannan Literary Programs and as a liaison to the British Council. She received her undergraduate degree in Drama from the University of Manchester, Masters degrees in Theatre History and in English Literature from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a Joint Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale. Her current research engages with the literary archive, material culture, museology, public history, and interpretive planning and design. She is a scholarly advisor to the International African American Museum in Charleston, SC, and sits on the Board of the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association.


Time Talk
9:15 to 10:15 a.m.

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Building a Presidential Museum for the Future

Join our Mailing List