Ngaire Blankenberg

Ngaire Blankenberg is the Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Previously, she has worked as a museum consultant, advising more than 55 cultural projects in 35 cities on 5 continents on all aspects of museological practice. She has worked with all types of museums- from national to local, with collections ranging from history, art, science, football, rice, space, ideas.

In addition to museums, she has advised on integrating cultural spaces in cities and parks, developing art residencies, making archives accessible, engaging communities and decolonizing knowledge production. She is co-editor, with Gail Lord, of Cities, Museums and Soft Power (AAM Press 2015) which urges museums to play a more vital role in creating equitable, inclusive and empowering cities; and co-editor, with Ali Hossaini, of the Manual of Digital Museum Planning, (Rowman and Littlefield 2017) which provides practical guidance for cultural institutes to transform to reflect new digital realities.

Prior to becoming an independent consultant in 2018, Ngaire was Head of Content and Strategy at multiple award-winning exhibition design company Kossmann.de Jong where she worked with diverse clients to create narrative experiences with lasting impact. From 2008- 2016 she was a Senior Consultant, Principal Consultant and finally European Director at notable global cultural planning firm Lord Cultural Resources. Ngaire speaks, lectures and teaches frequently on the changing role of museums- most frequently on themes such as Decolonization and Diversity, Museums and Soft Power; and Museums and Placemaking.