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Kathryn K. Matthew, PhD, MBA

Kathryn K. Matthew


Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew is the 5th Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. With career experience that spans private and nonprofit sectors, Dr. Matthew brings to the agency a deep knowledge of the educational and public service roles of museums, libraries and related nonprofits.

Confirmed by the U.S. Senate in September 2015, Dr. Matthew is serving a four-year term as the Director of the Institute. The directorship of the Institute alternates between individuals from the museum and library communities. Dr. Matthew’s career interests have centered around supporting and coaching museums and other nonprofits, large and small, who are focused on propelling their programs, communications, events, and fundraising offerings to a higher level of success. Through her volunteer experiences, she has gained insights into the vital roles for cultural organizations as anchors in rural and smaller communities.

Trained as a scientist, Dr. Matthew’s 30-year museum career began in curatorial, collections management, and research roles at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and Cranbrook Institute of Science.  She worked with a variety of collections including ornithology, paleontology, fine arts, and anthropology.

She then moved into management, exhibits and educational programs development, and fundraising and marketing roles, working at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, The Nature Conservancy, the Historic Charleston Foundation, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.  In addition she was Executive Director of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, a state-funded museum.  In that role she worked with corporations, federal agencies, public schools, and Hispanic and Native American communities to offer STEM-based programs. “Proyecto Futuro” was a nationally-recognized program that began during her tenure. Dr. Matthew was also a science advisor for the IMAX film “Tropical Rainforest,” produced by the Science Museum of Minnesota.

She has also worked in the corporate sector in several product management roles, including the conceptualization and launch of a new software product for arts and cultural organizations.

A native of South Carolina, Dr. Matthew received a BA from Mount Holyoke College, a MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.