Kathleen McLean

Updated
30 Nov 2016

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Kathleen McLean. Image courtesy of Discursive Space.

"Cultural workers buy into the notion of the creative class system; they believe that they exist to serve the cultural nobles, or 'creative ones,' and because of that there is an invisible line that they do not cross."

Kathleen McLean is principal of Independent Exhibitions, a museum consulting firm specializing in exhibition development, design, programming and strategic planning. For a recent engagement, she has served as creative director and lead consultant for the conceptual planning, design and reinstallation of the Oakland Museum of California's art, history and natural sciences galleries. McLean has been working in the field of museums and exhibition development since 1974, often focusing on exhibitions that deal with social issues and public response. From 1986–90, McLean established and led the first exhibitions department at the Brooklyn Children's Museum in Crown Heights, New York. From 1994–2004, she was the director of the Center for Public Exhibition and Public Programs at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. In 2006, McLean was selected for the American Association of Museums' Centennial Honor Role, as one of 100 museum professionals to have made a significant contribution to American museums over the last 100 years. She has frequently published and spoken on the topics of museum design, informal learning and exhibitions.

McLean served as a Center management panelist in 2012 and 2013 and she has overseen the Center's ongoing project, No Idea Is Too Ridiculous, which she co-facilitated in 2013 with Performa curator Mark Beasley. In addition, she is a contributing writer to Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World, published by the Center in 2011.