Team

David Allison: Project Director

David Allison was appointed Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in October 2009. He oversees the Office of Curatorial Affairs, which has a staff of around 120 federal and trust employees. It encompasses the Museum’s collecting, research, and exhibition development, as well as NMAH’s involvement with Smithsonian Affiliates and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service. Formerly, David Allison was Chairman of the Division of Information Technology and Communications. He was among the first participants in the Smithsonian Leadership Development Program, and also served as Chairman of a Planning Committee for the renovation of the Arts and Industries Building, which served as the Smithsonian’s first museum. He has curated numerous exhibits including: The Price of Freedom: Americans at War; September 11, 2001: Bearing Witness to History; Deep Blue; Digilab: A Digital Imaging Laboratory; Behind the Lines: The Universal Product Code at 25, and Information Age: People, Information and Technology. Allison has a PhD from Princeton University, Diploma in French Language and Cultural Studies from University of Bordeaux, and a B.A. from St. Johns College.

Nancy Davis: Curator

Nancy Davis joined the National Museum of American History, Behring Center in 2007 as a curator in the division of Home and Community Life. She has served on the curatorial teams for the 2008 exhibition Barriers to Bridges: Asian American Immigration After Exclusion, the 2009 exhibition Creating Hawai ‘i and the future permanent exhibition, American Enterprise, focusing on the history of American business and innovation. Prior to joining the museum’s staff, Davis served as the deputy director and chief curator of the Maryland Historical Society, assistant director in the Division of Public Programs, National Endowment for the Humanities, and director of The Octagon Museum. Davis teaches as an adjunct faculty member in the American Studies Program, George Washington University and has previously taught at the University of Mary Washington, and the University of Baltimore. Davis has a Ph.D. in American Studies from George Washington University, an M.A.T. in Museum Education, George Washington University, an M.A. (all but thesis) Art History, State University of New York at New Paltz, and a B.A. in English from Russell Sage College.

Kari Fantasia: Corporate Relations

Kari Fantasia joined the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in September 2008. In her role as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Kari is responsible for the development, implementation and planning of corporate and foundation solicitations and relationships. Prior to joining the National Museum of American History, Kari was the Director of External Affairs for the National Postal Museum, where she managed all of the Museum’s fundraising initiatives and served as the Director’s deputy. Kari began her career in Washington DC as a political appointee in 1996 working for the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). She helped manage, organize and coordinate a number of critical operations for the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative and senior officials as well as the planning of events and serving as the deputy chief of staff for the Under Secretary for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Kari received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Stevan Fisher: Design Liaison

Stevan Fisher is a Senior Designer at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. He has over twenty-five years experience in exhibition design and construction, graphic design, and traditional and digital illustration. He has lead and collaborated on National, State and Regional park visitor centers and museums from Texas to North Dakota, and from Vermont to California. Fisher came from private industry to the Smithsonian in 1993 to work on the planning far and final design of Smithsonian’s America, a 40,000 square foot component of the much larger American Festival Japan ‘94 in Chiba, commemorating the 150th anniversary of official relations between Japan and the United States. His major projects since joining the staff of NMAH include Communities in a Changing Nation, Treasures of American History, and portions of Science in American Life, serving as design manager for West Point in the Making of America, The Price of Freedom, and Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life. He holds a BFA with high honors in Interior Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

Kathleen Franz: Curator

Kathleen Franz is Associate Professor and Director of Public History in the History Department at American University, Washington, D.C. She holds a PhD in American Civilization from Brown University where she trained in American cultural history, the history of technology, and museum studies. Her publications include Tinkering: Americans Reinvent the Early Automobile (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005) and the forthcoming Major Problems in American Popular Culture, co-edited with Susan Smulyan (Wadsworth Cengage, 2010). Her awards and prizes include several national fellowships and the Hindle Prize from the Society for the History of Technology. An active public historian, she has acted as curator on several exhibitions, including most recently David Macaulay: The Art of Drawing Architecture (National Building Museum, June 2007-May 2008) and On Track: Transit and the American City (National Building Museum, 2001-2002). At American University she runs the public history program, oversees numerous student projects in and around D.C., and teaches courses on public history, American popular culture, and visual and material culture.

Andrew Heymann: Project Manager

Andrew D. Heymann is a Project Manager for Exhibitions and Major Initiatives at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Since joining the staff at the museum, he has managed a wide variety of interdisciplinary projects including; America on the Move, On the Water, Lighting a Revolution, The American Presidency, First Ladies at the Smithsonian, West Point in the making of America, the Siguide, and The Public Space Renewal Project. Prior to working at the SI he served as a Combat and Facilities/Construction Engineer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has managed projects and programs in the United States, Europe, Southwest Asia, Africa and the Americas for teams and organizations ranging from 5 to 385,000 personnel. Heymann is a graduate of Rutgers University and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Valeska Hilbig: Public Relations

Valeska Hilbig is the Deputy Director for the Office of Public Affairs in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Ms. Hilbig is responsible for strategic planning and coordination of media outreach for museum’s exhibitions, programs and staff in close cooperation with the Director of Public Affairs and the Director of the Museum. She coordinates donations, press events, visits with notable persons and collaborates on special events, development, business ventures and education departments. She also is the Museum’s liaison to Smithsonian Networks and oversees mission development and production of critical programming for SI Channel. The office has received numerous award for its public relations efforts in promoting the Museum. Prior to joining the Museum in 1996, Ms. Hilbig served as Assistant Director/Curator for the NMSU Art Gallery, as classical music announcer at KRWG FM and as volunteer projectionist for the Mesilla Valley Film Society. Ms. Hilbig holds a Master of Arts Degree in Public History from New Mexico State University.

Eric Hintz: Curator

In 2010, Eric Hintz joined the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History as an Historian with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Eric earned his B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1996, then worked for nearly 6 years in Silicon Valley as a technology consultant for Accenture, a leading services firm. After leaving the corporate world, Eric taught both science and history in a San Francisco high school, and volunteered at a local aviation museum. These experiences crystallized his preference for teaching, researching, and interpreting the history of science, technology and business – rather than being a practitioner. In 2003, Eric entered the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed his Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science in 2010. Eric is currently working on a book that considers the changing fortunes of American independent inventors from 1900-1950, an era of expanding corporate R&D.

Katharine Klein: Project Assistant

Katharine Klein first joined the American Enterprise team as an intern researching the American textile industry’s response to global competition and managing the exhibition’s collection database in the summer of 2011. After obtaining her master’s in public history, museum concentration, at the University of South Carolina in 2012 (her thesis, The Sacrifices of the American Textile Industry and the Common Good, was inspired by her research for American Enterprise) Katharine rejoined the exhibition team in an expanded role that has her working closely with almost every member of the team. Katharine’s current position as Project Assistant has her balancing a diverse number of tasks within the areas of research, collections management, design, and administration. When Katharine is not discussing case layouts with the designers and curators, she is maintaining the computerized database of objects, images, and props and working closely with Jane Fortune in coordinating preservation services, housing, and conservation needs; object handling; and the scheduling, moving, and processing of new acquisitions and loans.

Carrie Kotcho: Education Technologist

In her current position managing online education outreach for the National Museum of American History, Carrie Kotcho leads the development of innovative online learning resources for teachers, students, and parents, including Smithsonian’s History Explorer, the Museum’s web portal for K-12 educators. She began her career producing children’s television programming then went on to create educational videos and interactive experiences for a wide range of corporate, non-profit, and museum audiences. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Bachelor of Science in Television Production as well as certificates in Instructional Design and Multimedia Development. Kotcho teaches in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University.

Peter Liebhold: Curator

Peter Liebhold is the Chair of the Division of Work and Industry at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Throughout his professional life Peter has been involved with industrial history and the effort to preserve the working history of the nation. In 1981 he helped open the Baltimore Museum of Industry in a renovated cannery building on the city’s historic waterfront. At the Smithsonian since 1985, he has curated numerous exhibitions including: Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-1964, Treasures of American History; America on the Move; Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A History of American Sweatshops, 1820-Present; Images of Steel, 1860 – 1994; and Who’s In Charge: Workers and Managers in the United States. Projects in development include: a permanent exhibition American Enterprise; and a small case exhibition Sweet and Sour on the history of Chinese restaurants in the US. His areas of research and interest include the culture of work, methods and motivations of technological change, immigration/migration, and work imagery. He has published in Technology and Culture, Invention and Technology, and The Public Historian (where his article “Experiences from the Front Line” won the G. Wesley Johnson Prize).

Howard Morrison: Interpretive Planner

Howard Morrison is Director of Education and Interpretation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He oversees the interpretive planning and development of exhibitions and informal learning spaces; the creation of object-based educational resources and experiences for K-12 students and teachers, both on site and online; and visitor studies. Since he joined the staff in 1980, he has helped shape—and been the principal writer for—some of the Museum’s most important exhibitions (most recently, The Star-Spangled Banner and The Price of Freedom). He has also been responsible for numerous exhibit-based audio-visual programs and interactives, hands-on activities, school visit materials, classroom resources, and visitor demographic and experience studies. He has a BA, Summa Cum Laude, in History from Hamilton College (1977) and an MA in Museum Studies/American Studies from The George Washington University (1980).

See what interns and fellows are developing for American Enterprise