Dr. Louise Bernard, who worked on the design team that developed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, has been named the Director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center, the planned presidential library of America’s 44th president, Barack Obama.
David Simas, the CEO of the Obama Foundation said in a statement that he was excited with Dr. Bernard’s coming on board his team to develop a museum that is “active and engaging.”
“One of the key aspects of the Obama Presidential Center is a museum that does not just tell the story of the Obama Administration, but inspires individuals and communities to take on our biggest challenges.”
The presidential center will be located in Chicago’s South Side, where the Obamas lived before going to the White House.
On her part, Dr. Bernard said she is honored to have the opportunity to help guide and shape a museum that is an innovative social and cultural institution.
“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,” said Dr. Bernard.
Bernard has a PhD in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale. Her master’s and bachelor’s degrees were received from Indiana University and University of Manchester respectively.
Bernard’s long resume includes stints at such hallowed institutions like the New York Public Library where she was the director of exhibitions. She was Curator of Prose and Drama for the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale, and Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University.
The former president unveiled the design of his planned presidential library at the historic Jackson Park in Chicago’s South Side on May 3 of this year. It is expected to be completed in 2021 and to cost an estimated $500 million.
All US presidential libraries (13 of them so far) have been built using private funds but their upkeep is funded by American taxpayers.
The Obama Foundation is accepting donations at its website.
About Tom Gitaa Gitaa
Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.
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