Affiliations Director Harold Closter Retires

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  • Smithsonian Affiliations Director Harold Closter retires after 40 years at the Smithsonian, 13 as director of Smithsonian Affiliations. Closter first worked for the Festival of American Folklife in 1975, while a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1977, he joined the Division of Performing Arts, moving to the National Museum of American History in 1983 as Director of Public Service. In 2000 he joined the Office of National Programs and in 2004 became Director of Smithsonian Affiliations.
  • Skorton noted since his appointment as director, "the office has grown into a globally recognized program that establishes and maintains the Smithsonian's long-term partnerships with museums, educational organizations and cultural institution across the country-there are now more than 200 affiliated organizations in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. Harold and his staff have facilitated loans of significant Smithsonian artifacts and exhibitions to Affiliate museums, and they have made it possible for Smithsonian scholars, educators, technical experts, and performing artists to share their expertise and talents in local communities."


  • Closter, Harold A
  • Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • Smithsonian Institution Division of Performing Arts
  • Smithsonian Affiliations
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)
  • Office of the Deputy Secretary Office of National Programs
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Festival of American Folklife


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • "The Smithsonian Celebrates Harold Closter," The Affiliate, Special Edition, June 2017, pp. 1-8
  • David Skorton, "Message from the Secretary: Smithsonian Affiliations Director Harold Closter to Retire in June," SI Email Announcements, March 13, 2017, Smithsonian Institution Archives

Contact information

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


June 3, 2017


  • Directors
  • Museums
  • Retirement
  • Museum techniques
  • Collaboration

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