Kamensky comes to Charlottesville from Harvard University’s history department.
Here is the press release:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the private nonprofit that owns and operates Monticello, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jane Kamensky, Ph.D., as the new President at Monticello. Dr. Kamensky will assume her new role on January 15, 2024.
Today’s announcement marks an exciting new chapter in the history of Monticello. An eminent American historian, Dr. Kamensky is uniquely qualified to advance the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s mission of preservation, scholarship, and education and to lead Monticello’s work at the forefront of national and global dialogues. Her appointment comes as Monticello prepares to honor the 250th anniversary of our nation’s independence in 2026.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Kamensky, who shares our belief that Monticello plays a pivotal role in illuminating the enduring ideals and contributions of Thomas Jefferson and telling the stories of those who built and worked at this incredible World Heritage Site,” said Tobias Dengel, chair of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Board of Trustees. “Dr. Kamensky brings more than 30 years of deep expertise as a distinguished academic at some of the world’s leading institutions and has displayed a continued commitment to civic education and engagement to bring people together. We are confident that her leadership will continue to promote Monticello as a cornerstone of historical interpretation and impactful dialogue.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to have been chosen to lead one of the nation’s most important historical institutions. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello carries the weight of our past, the challenges of our present, and the enormous potential of our shared future,” Dr. Kamensky said. “Leveraging the expertise of the Foundation’s peerless staff, I am deeply committed to continuing Monticello’s vital work of interweaving rigorous and inspiring lessons from history into the fabric of our modern-day constitutional democracy. As the United States approaches the 250th anniversary of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, Monticello stands poised to foster not only understanding, but also renewed commitment, to a future in which the ideals of our founding are fully realized.”
Dr. Kamensky joins Monticello from Harvard University, where she has served since 2015 as the Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History and the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard Radcliffe Institute. In her years as Director of the Schlesinger Library, she successfully worked to raise the profile of the library to the most preeminent of its kind in the world by partnering with an international network of diverse scholars and thought leaders.
Dr. Kamensky is the author or co-author of seven books spanning four centuries of American history, including the prize-winning A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (2016). She is also a member of the author team on A People and a Nation, one of the preeminent textbooks in American history, and the co-editor, with Edward G. Gray, of The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution. A principal investigator for the NEH-DoE funded social studies initiative Educating for American Democracy, Dr. Kamensky brings a commitment to civic education and engagement that deeply aligns with Monticello’s mission.
Dr. Kamensky will succeed interim president Gardiner Hallock, who during his tenure worked tirelessly to uphold Monticello’s values and mission, and they are working together to ensure a seamless transition. The Board of Trustees extends its deep gratitude to Mr. Hallock for his exceptional service. After the transition, Mr. Hallock will continue his work at the Foundation as a Senior Vice President.
“I would like to thank the incredibly talented staff at Monticello for their dedication and outstanding work during this interim period and congratulate Jane on her appointment,” Hallock said. “Jane is uniquely qualified for this role as a preeminent scholar who has created inspiring national programming to encourage people of all ages and walks of life to engage with history. It is a testament to Monticello’s unique place in our nation’s history that Jane is joining us as we embark on the next chapter of promoting historical understanding and look toward the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of our nation’s independence.”