Kevin Gover

Kevin Gover
Under Secretary for Museums and Culture

Kevin Gover is the Under Secretary for Museums and Culture at the Smithsonian, where he oversees the Institution’s museums, cultural centers, and archives. Prior to this, Gover served as the director of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and its George Gustav Heye Center in New York City for 14 years. He led the museums to pursue equity and social justice for Native people through education, inspiration, and empowerment, and worked to expand people’s understanding of what it means to be Native American.

During his tenure as director, the Washington and New York museums opened numerous critically acclaimed exhibitions, including "Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations" (2014), which examines the history and legacy of U.S.–American Indian diplomacy from the colonial period through the present; "Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian" (2010), a long-term exhibition of more than 700 works of Native art from throughout North, Central, and South America that demonstrates the breadth of the museum’s renowned collection; and "The Great Inka Road: Engineering and Empire" (2015), which considers the construction and use of the Inka Road, an engineering feat and UNESCO World Heritage site that continues to be used today.

In addition to his work at the Smithsonian, Gover has a long and distinguished career in public service. He served as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1997 to 2000 under President Bill Clinton, where he won praise for his efforts to rebuild long-neglected Indian schools and expand tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs police forces throughout the country. His tenure as Assistant Secretary is known for his apology to Native Americans for the historical conduct of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. After leaving office, he practiced law and joined the faculty at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

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