New Smithsonian Directors Appointed

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  • Robert J. Koestler, entomologist and cell biologist, is appointed director of the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, effective August 30, 2004. Previously, he worked in the conservation of biological materials at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Museum of Natural History in New York. He succeeds Lambertus van Zelst, who retired in July 2003 after serving as director of SCMRE for 19 years.
  • Harold A. Closter is appointed director of Smithsonian Affiliations effective August 2004. He had been acting director since the retirement of former director Michael Carrigan in March of 2004. Closter had been at the Smithsonian for 27 years, first with the Division of Performing Arts and Festival of American Folklife. He served in management positions at the National Museum of American History from 1983 to 2001, serving as assistant director for public service from 1994 to 2001. He then served as senior management advisor in the Office of National Programs.


  • Carrigan, Michael
  • Closter, Harold A
  • Koestler, Robert J (Robert John) 1950-
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
  • Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education
  • Smithsonian Affiliations
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)
  • Office of the Deputy Secretary Office of National Programs
  • Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • Smithsonian Institution Division of Performing Arts
  • Museum Conservation Institute
  • Festival of American Folklife


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Smithsonian "Torch," 04-09, September 2004, pp. 1, 6, 8.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


August 2004


  • Conservation and restoration
  • Directors
  • Museum conservation methods
  • Van Zelst, Lambertus (Bert)

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