Director of Smithsonian Affiliations to become unaffiliated later this year

After nearly 40 years of service to the Smithsonian, Harold Closter, the director of Smithsonian Affiliations, will retire from the Institution on June 3.

Closter became the director of Smithsonian Affiliations in 2004. Since then, the office has grown into a globally recognized program that establishes and maintains the Smithsonian’s long-term partnerships with museums, educational organizations and cultural institution across the country—there are now more than 200 affiliated organizations in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. Closter and his staff have facilitated loans of significant Smithsonian artifacts and exhibitions to Affiliate museums, and they have made it possible for Smithsonian scholars, educators, technical experts, and performing artists to share their expertise and talents in local communities.

portrait photo of Closter

Harold Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliation since 2004.

In collaboration with many Smithsonian units, Closter and his staff have expanded the educational outreach of the Institution through programs such as the National Youth Summit, Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos, Young Historians/Living Histories, the Museum Studies Certificate program at the Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico, and Museum Day Live!.

Closter cofounded the Smithsonian Affiliations/George Washington University 21st Century Museum Leadership Seminar. He has lectured and led numerous workshops on museum management and strategic planning at George Washington University, Georgetown University, the U.S. Army Museum Training Program, and the Universidad del Turabo.

He is the recipient of the Smithsonian’s Unsung Hero Award and the National Museum of American History’s Director’s Award for Distinguished Service.

Posted: 13 March 2017
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