Staff Biographies

Claudine Brown

Assistant Secretary for Education and Access

April 1, 2015

Claudine K. Brown is the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access for the Smithsonian Institution. She is responsible for defining the Smithsonian’s education program and reports directly to the Secretary. She concentrates her efforts on Institution-wide educational initiatives, assessment strategies and funding for programs that benefit learners of all ages. A significant focus of her work is programs and resources for K-12 teachers and students.

Brown oversees two of the Smithsonian’s educational organizations—Smithsonian Science Education Center and the Smithsonian Center for Digital Learning and Access—and coordinates the efforts of 32 education offices in Smithsonian museums and science centers. Brown also oversees the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Smithsonian Affiliations and Smithsonian Associates.

Brown served as the director of the arts and culture program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York from 1995 to 2010. During her tenure, she positioned the organization as a leading arts grantmaker that supports institutions that are committed to excellence, diversity and community involvement. She worked to strengthen community-based arts education programs, which included supporting young people acquiring creative and technical skills using new media.

From 1990 to 1995 she was the director of the National African American Museum Project at the Smithsonian. She developed the Institution’s final study on the project and a program plan for the proposed museum. In 1991, she also became the deputy assistant secretary for the arts and humanities.

From 1977 to 1990, Brown held three positions at The Brooklyn Museum: museum educator (1977–1982), manager of school and community programs (1982–1984) and assistant director for government and community relations (1985).

In addition to working in the museum and philanthropy communities, Brown also served for more than 20 years as a faculty advisor and instructor in the Leadership in Museum Education Program at Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York City, giving her the opportunity to work with some of the pre-eminent museum evaluators, educators and thinkers in the field. Many of the more than 200 students Brown advised and taught are now directors of education and managers at art, history, natural history, science and children’s museums throughout the country. 

Brown earned her bachelor’s degree from Pratt Institute in New York City and master’s degree in museum education from Bank Street College of Education. She earned her law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

# # #



Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access

Photo: Amanda Lucidon for Smithsonian

Claudine Brown

Assistant Secretary for Education and Access at the Smithsonian Institution, effective June 2010