Kathleen McLean

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.


Grants & Grantees

Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates established a new curatorial residency program that looks to the future of mural-making.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Cara Starke is director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Grants & Grantees

Charles Burnette is a design educator and a 1993 Pew Fellow.

Andrew McIntyre visited the Center in summer 2012 for a day of workshops on visitor behavior and new approaches to engaging arts audiences in the 21st century.

The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change will perform at a Liberian Community Gathering at Bartram’s Garden.

Founded in 1986, Sruti promotes and presents Indian classical music and dance to educate the greater Philadelphia community on the importance of Indian arts.

Grants & Grantees

The Philadelphia premiere of Lynn Nottage’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning play was the centerpiece of the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 35th anniversary season.

Founded in 1824 in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is home to 600,000 printed items and more than 21 million manuscript and graphic items.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Tim Grove is chief of museum learning at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where he oversees programming and works on exhibition and web development.

The Village of Arts and Humanities supports the voices and aspirations of the community and inspires people to be agents of positive change through programs that encompass arts and culture, engage youth, revitalize community, preserve heritage, and respect the environment.

Project Row Houses’ founder Rick Lowe discusses Art Making and the Future of Presentation, as part of Gray Area’s Preservation Provocateur speaker series.

Grants & Grantees

Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers’ company training project furthered the development of the meditative and martial arts practices at the core of their creative process.