September 23, 2015


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Giuliana Bullard, 202-330-7864
Janelle Brevard, 202-330-6193

Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew Confirmed as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Dr. Kathryn "Kit" Matthews, IMLS Director

Washington, DC — Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew's nomination to be director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) was confirmed by the United States Senate on Tuesday night. The Institute, an independent United States government agency, is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.

"I am honored to have been nominated by President Barack Obama and to have received the confidence from the Senate through their confirmation process.  I look forward to being appointed to serve as the fifth Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services," said Dr. Matthew. "I am eager to begin my work at IMLS to help to sustain strong libraries and museums that convene our communities around heritage and culture, advance critical thinking skills, and connect families, researchers, students, and job seekers to information."

“Dr. Kathryn ‘Kit’ Matthew will be an extraordinary resource as IMLS director,” said Joseph P. Riley, mayor of Charleston, SC. “She is an extraordinarily accomplished person with great skills and understanding of communities and cities. We commend her as she embarks on this great task.”

Dr. Matthew will serve a four-year term as the Director of the Institute. The directorship of the Institute alternates between individuals from the museum and library communities. She succeeds Maura Marx, who served as IMLS Acting Director since January 19, 2015, following the departure of IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth, at the conclusion of her four-year term.  Marx is currently the deputy director for library services.

Biographical Background

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.  Dr. Matthew’s professional experience spans the breadth of the diverse museum field.  Through her many different leadership positions, she brings to the agency a deep knowledge of the educational and public service roles of museums, libraries, and related nonprofits.

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.  She was also a science advisor for the IMAX film “Tropical Rainforest,” produced by the Science Museum of Minnesota.

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 has worked on three museum expansion projects involving historic buildings; Science City at Union Station, in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall and The Chemical Heritage Foundation, both in Philadelphia.

Dr. Matthew’s expertise in developing new exhibits and programs has been shaped by her corporate sector work with Reebok, Unilever, and Blackbaud in new product development and project management.  At Blackbaud, she was the Product Manager for the Arts and Cultural business sector and played a leadership role in the development of “Altru,” a comprehensive SaaS software product.   Also at Blackbaud, she provided change management and facilitation services to national organizations in healthcare, higher education, human services, disaster relief, conservation, and public policy sectors.  She currently consults for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, serving as Chief Science Educator.

Over her 30-year career, she has been active as a volunteer to smaller nonprofits, board member, and award winning peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums’ Accreditation and Museum Assessment Programs. Her board service has included two children’s museums, a wildlife rehabilitation center, and a ballet company.

Dr. Matthew received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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