Anna R. Cohn
Director, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
Anna R. Cohn has been director of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) since 1988. SITES is the largest traveling exhibition program in the world and for 56 years has been the Institution’s main exhibits ambassador beyond Washington, D.C.
Cohn has been affiliated with the Smithsonian since 1983, first as director of “The Precious Legacy” a major international exhibition provided on loan from the Czechoslovak State Collections and composed of Judaic treasures that had been confiscated during the Holocaust. She later organized “Generations” (1987), the inaugural exhibition for the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center’s International Gallery.
Cohn’s other museum experience includes directorships at the B’nai B’rith Museum in Washington (1976-1982) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington (1983-1985). She was project director of special exhibitions for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, educational curator at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., and has held numerous curatorial research roles in the United States and abroad.
Cohn has written and lectured extensively on art, museums and exhibition development, concentrating on the interpretation of ethnic cultural history among groups stripped of their material culture. She is a member of numerous professional museum and art organizations, including ArtTable, the International Council of Museums, the American Association of Museums and the International and National Council of Jewish Museums. She is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including the Aspen Institute Fellowship, Williams College Clark Art Institute Fellowship, Kress Foundation Fellowship, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Fellowship for the study of Judaica and the Holocaust.
Cohn has a master’s degree (1975) in the history of art from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota (1973). She has served as a consultant to the National Geographic Society (1981), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts International Film Festival (1981) and the Memorial Trust in London.
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