A portrait of Interim Director Martha Morris, wearing a bright red jacket.

Martha Morris

Interim Director of Museum Studies
Faculty: Full-Time

Areas of Expertise

Museum Management & Leadership


Interim Director & Associate Professor of Museum Studies

Professor Morris has worked in museums for over 35 years. She is retired from the Smithsonian Institution where she held the position of Deputy Director of the National Museum of American History. Her expertise is in museum management with an emphasis on strategic planning, project management, teambuilding, and leadership issues. She also has extensive experience in collections management policy and practices. She has lectured widely on museum planning and actively serves as a peer reviewer for AAM. She has published articles on collections management, organization change, exhibition development, and building projects. In 2009, she co-authored the book, Planning Successful Museum Building Projects.  She served on the Board of the Mid Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM) and chair of the annual Building Museums conference. In 1994 she received the Robert A. Brooks Award for Excellence in Administration at the Smithsonian Institution. In 2008, she received MAAM's Katherine Coffey award.

Professor Morris is the Assistant Director and Associate Professor of Museum Studies. She offers a number of courses at GWU that focus on building management and leadership skills. A comprehensive Introduction to Museum Administration gives the students grounding in museum functions from governance to staffing to fundraising and public relations. The course Managing People and Managing Projects focuses on the growing need to employ project management systems along with sophisticated people skills. Leading Change in Museums offers an intensive view of change and leadership trends, museum best practices, and insights into personal leadership capabilities. The profession has demanded a more sophisticated approach to leadership and the application of modern business practices. The students are challenged to think about creative solutions for managing today's museums. Building Museums is an overview of the planning, people, and processes for construction projects in museums.  Additionally, Professor Morris has developed the George Washington University-Smithsonian 21st Century Leadership Skills Seminar.

Professor Morris teaches Managing People/Managing Projects, Museum Management, Building Museums, Leading Museums in Turbulent Times: Issues and Solutions (distance education class), and Special Topics: Leading Change in Museums.


BA in Art History (GW)
MA in Museology (GW)
MBA from the University of Maryland