Nancy Yao Named First Director of the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum

On March 13, the Smithsonian Institution announced in a press release that Nancy Yao was named the founding director of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, effective June 5.

Yao brings over 25 years of experience managing organizations and mission-driven projects to the role. Since 2015, Yao has served as the president of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). She is a lecturer on governance of not-for-profit organizations at Yale University’s David Geffen School of Drama and serves as the board of secretary of the Tessitura Network. According to the Smithsonian, Yao will oversee the “conception and development of a twenty-first-century museum, including sourcing a national collection, curating permanent and current exhibitions, and creating educational resources accessible virtually before the physical museum is built in Washington, D.C.”

Congress established the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum in December 2020, which advances the understanding of women’s contributions throughout United States history that have influenced the making of America. The Smithsonian has named a 25-member advisory council and identified two optimal sites for the museum, pending congressional approval. The museum provides access “via an online presence with research platforms and in-person events to help research, disseminate and amplify the history of American women.”

For more information on the museum, click here.