Wonderful Women Wednesday: Sheila P. Burke

Each week, the Archives features a woman who has been a groundbreaker at the Smithsonian, past or present, in a series titled Wonderful Women Wednesday.

Sheila P. Burke was the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for American Museums and National Programs between 2000 and 2004 and Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Smithsonian between 2004 and 2007.

Prior to arriving at the Smithsonian, Burke spent her career on Capitol Hill and in higher education. Between 1986 and 1996, she was the chief of staff for Senator Bob Dole, and in 1995, Burke was elected Secretary of the Senate. From 1996 to 2000, she served as the executive dean and a lecturer at the  John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 

Burke earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1982 and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of San Francisco in 1973. 

Burke stands with four men, including Secretary Bunch.

Related Resources

  • Smithsonian Institution Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, Subject Files, 1995–2005, Accession 07-104, Smithsonian Institution Archives 
  • Sheila P. Burke, Baker Donelson Award Winner 2015, Women Worth Watching
  • Sheila P. Burke, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Sheila Burke, Kaiser Family Foundation

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