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Lemay, Kate



Kate Clarke Lemay, Ph.D. is a historian and curator at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Dr. Lemay has published essays on the role of American art in transatlantic postwar diplomacy and her book, Triumph of the Dead: American WWII Cemeteries, Monuments and Diplomacy in France (University of Alabama Press) won publication support from the Terra Foundation in American Art. Her research has been supported by an IIE Fulbright (France); the Smithsonian American Art Museum; a Centre National Pour Les Recherches Scientifiques fellowship at the Mémorial de Caen Peace Museum in Normandy; and the Emily Landau Center for American Modernism at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. At the Portrait Gallery, Dr. Lemay is lead historian for America’s Presidents and Director of PORTAL = Insights + Analysis, NPG’s scholarly center. Dr. Lemay is also Coordinating Curator for the Smithsonian-wide American Women’s History Initiative. Dr. Lemay’s exhibitions include those focusing on Marlene Dietrich, the American suffragist movement, and the Spanish-American War of 1898. Prior to coming to Washington, Lemay taught courses in American art history at Brigham Young University and Auburn University Montgomery.

Geographic Focus

Professional Biography

  • Game changer in public-facing women's history. Founding Director of PORTAL, the groundbreaking scholarly center at the National Portrait Gallery supporting scholarship in portraiture, biography, and American history. A leader in #becauseofherstory, the pan-Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative. Original research, widely published in military history (with a focus on women) and the memory of World War II. Bilines in the New York Times, CNN; exhibition reviews in 150+ global media outlets. Highly skilled in achieving team-oriented objectives and creating diverse and intersectional exhibitions.