Marc Pachter, former director of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, has been appointed Acting Director of the National Museum of American History, effective Aug. 15. He will replace Brent D. Glass, who announced that he was leaving the directorship in August and retiring from Smithsonian at the end of the year.
Pachter was with the Portrait Gallery for 33 years, beginning as a chief historian in 1974 and serving as director from 2000 until his retirement in 2007. He held a number of positions at the Gallery and at the Smithsonian when he served as chair of the Institution’s 150th anniversary celebration in 1996 and as a deputy assistant secretary for external affairs. Pachter retired in October 2007, one year after the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which share the same historic building, reopened after an extensive six-year renovation.
“We are happy to welcome Marc back home to the Smithsonian,” said Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture. “Marc was always an asset to the Institution as a museum director, scholar, author and interviewer. He knows the Institution so well and even served as acting director of American History once before. In 2001-02, he filled in while we searched for a new director at the same time he continued as director of the Portrait Gallery.”
Pachter was named Acting Director of American History in November 2001 and served until December 2002. His tenure included the creation of “September 11: Bearing Witness to History,” the commemorative exhibition about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which opened on the second anniversary of the attack.
Pachter, a long-time Washington resident, has agreed to serve until a permanent director is named, according to Kurin.