Woman with short hair and glasses
Under Secretary for Science and Research

Jessica Johnson

Acting Director, Museum Conservation Institute

Jessica S. Johnson is the acting director of the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute. As acting director, she strives to bring new technology and focus to the institute’s research and conservation efforts, working closely with the Smithsonian museums to protect and conserve their collections. 

Johnson previously was a conservator and the head of conservation for the Museum Conservation Institute. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian, she worked for the University of Delaware’s Institute for Global Studies as academic director for the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil, Iraq. She helped to establish the Iraqi Institute beginning in 2009, first serving as the program director for Collections Care and Conservation. From 2000 to 2009, she was senior objects conservator for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. 

Johnson has also worked at the U.S. National Park Service Museum Management Program (1997–2000) and Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Austin (1991–1997). She has been a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Gordion Archaeological Project in Turkey since 1989. 

She received her education in archaeological and ethnographic conservation from University College London, Institute of Archaeology (Bachelor of Science with honors, 1990). She also has a Master of Arts in anthropology with a Certificate of Museum Studies from the University of Arizona (1986).

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