Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
Kara Blond appointed Director
We are pleased to announce that the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, DC (JHSGW) has appointed as it’s new Executive Director Kara Blond. Blond is currently Director of Exhibitions of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC. Blond begins her new position effective September 5, 2017. Museum Search & Reference conducted the national search.
Blond will lead the Society’s day-to-day operations and the planning, design, construction and programming of the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum in a new building adjacent to the Capitol Crossing Project under construction in downtown Washington. The Museum will incorporate the Society’s historic 1876 synagogue, the region’s first and oldest purpose-built synagogue building. Planning for the new Museum will continue over the next few years in conjunction with a major capital campaign.
Board President Russell Smith said, “The Board is unanimously excited to work with Kara to help us realize our vision of preserving the past, marking the present and looking to the future of Jewish Washington. Kara’s successful career with the Smithsonian will be an enormous benefit as the Society enters this transformative period. She is the leader we need at this key turning point.”
“I am honored to have been asked to lead the Society and to work with the Board, staff, members, and community to design a new museum from the ground up,” Blond stated. “The Society has been serving Washington with exhibitions and programs for decades, but with the new building, program spaces, and exhibitions telling the story of the Washington Jewish community and its impact on the city and the world, the new Jewish Museum will become an attraction for visitors to Washington from around the world.”
Blond brings nearly 15 years of experience managing complex, transformational exhibitions as part of significant construction projects at major national institutions. At the National Zoo she served as the exhibition developer and project manager on such visitor favorites as the Asia Trail and Elephant Trails. At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where she has served as Director of Exhibitions since 2013, Blond has been responsible for overseeing design and development of experiences across 350,000 square feet of public space. She has overseen more than 30 exhibitions, including the redesign of the National Fossil Hall and the broader Deep Time Initiative. Her work has been recognized with both national and Smithsonian-wide awards.
Blond holds a Master of Arts in Education in Learning, Design and Technology from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a native of the Washington, D.C. area.