Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services: Who Is Kathryn “Kit” Matthew?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On March 10, 2015, President Barack Obama nominated Kathryn “Kit” Matthew to be director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. If confirmed, this would be Matthew’s first federal post.


Matthew was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but lived all over with her Navy family. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied penguins. Penn is also where she met her husband, George Stevens, another biologist who gravitated into another field, in his case fundraising and philanthropy.  He is currently CEO of the Coastal Community Foundation in South Carolina.


Matthew’s first professional jobs included posts at the Cranbrook Institute of Science and the Academy of Natural Sciences. In 1986, she was named assistant director at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Two years later, Matthew was deputy director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History and in 1991 was named executive director of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.


She joined the corporate world in 1994 as a project management consultant at Unilever. While still working for the consumer products giant, in 1996 she was made a director of Science City at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. Matthew left both posts in 1998 and became director of strategic initiatives and new product development for athletic shoe maker Reebok.


Matthew returned to non-profits in 2001 as director of marketing and philanthropy for the Massachusetts chapter of The Nature Conservancy. The following year she became corporate giving consultant for the Wildlife Conservation Society.


In 2003, Matthew was named vice president for an expansion project and exhibit design for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. The following year, while still at the Please Touch Museum, she became an exhibits consultant for the Chemical Heritage Foundation.


Matthew returned to Charleston in 2005 as director of the Historic Charleston Foundation, serving there until 2008. At that time, she rejoined the corporate world as a product manager for Blackbaud, which develops and markets fund raising and membership software for non-profit organizations. In 2014, Matthew was named chief science educator for Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Museum Veteran Dr. Kathryn (Kit) Matthew Nominated to Head Institute of Library and Museum Services (by Joe Kleiman, InPark)

Official Announcement


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