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Obama Foundation Names Director For Presidential Center In Jackson Park

By Sam Cholke | May 31, 2017 1:55pm
 Louise Bernard has been named the first museum director for the Obama Presidential Center.
Louise Bernard has been named the first museum director for the Obama Presidential Center.
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Obama Foundation, LinkedIn

HYDE PARK — The Obama Foundation has picked Louise Bernard, the former director of exhibitions at the New York Public Library, to be the Obama Presidential Center’s first museum director.

Bernard will be in charge of developing the museum into a place that tells the story of Barack Obama’s life and presidency and also inspires civic engagement.


David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation, said the museum will need to inspire people to take on the world’s biggest challenges.

“We are excited for Louise to join our team and help us develop a museum that is active and engaging,” Simas said in an announcement Wednesday. “Louise’s impeccable credentials and passion for her work will make her a valuable member of the Obama Foundation team.”

Bernard will join some former colleagues on the project. She previously worked at Ralph Appelbaum Associates on the firm’s exhibition designs for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Appelbaum has been tapped by the Obama Foundation to also design the exhibitions for the presidential center in Jackson Park.

“I’m honored to work alongside such a talented team at the Obama Foundation and to have the opportunity to help guide and shape a museum that is a truly innovative social and cultural institution,” Bernard said.

“I look forward in bringing president and Mrs. Obama’s remarkable story to the broadest possible audience and to highlighting the crucial role of civic engagement in a way that is meaningful and inspiring to local South Side residents and to people across the country and around the world,” she said

Bernard is also a scholarly adviser to the International African American Museum in Charleston, S.C.