White House announces appointment of Donna Hayashi Smith as curator

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WASHINGTON — The White House announced the appointment of Donna Hayashi Smith as its new curator. She is the first Asian American to hold the title of curator of the White House.

“Hayashi Smith, the ninth White House curator, joined the Executive Residence Office of the Curator in 1995 and has served under five administrations,” a statement issued May 2 by the White House said. “She began her career as the administrative and collections assistant, then became the White House collections manager and registrar. Most recently, she was the associate curator of the collections and registrar, a position where she was responsible for caring for and tracking over 60,000 objects in the White House Collection. She also led the Office of the Curator through its American Alliance of Museums re-accreditation in 2022, ensuring that the White House continues to be recognized nationally as an accredited museum. … Hayashi Smith has been serving as the acting White House curator since the retirement of her predecessor, Lydia Tederick, after her decades of service….”

Hayashi Smith, who is originally from Wahiawa, Hawai‘i, received her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. “In 1990, she moved to Washington, D.C. for a Smithsonian Institution minority fellowship at the National Museum of American History and was hired as a museum aide at the National Museum of American Art a year later.”

Hayashi Smith holds a master’s degree in museum studies from the George Washington University.

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