Michael Atwood Mason

CEO & Executive Director

Before joining the President Lincoln's Cottage team in September of 2021, Michael Atwood Mason served as Director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, where he led the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the archives, and educational and cultural programs. Previously, Dr. Mason worked as the Director of Exhibitions at the National Museum of Natural History, where he developed, curated, managed, and maintained more than seventy exhibitions. A PhD in Folklore, Dr. Mason began his career at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum as a researcher and exhibit developer. Later, he spent 20 years at the Museum of Natural History where he ended his tenure as Director of Exhibitions. He was named as the Director of Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in 2013. During his tenure at Folklife, his team won Grammy awards, research awards, and commendations from Congress and two foreign governments. He also developed a new Cultural Sustainability Program working with communities to document, preserve, and present their most cherished cultural expressions.

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