Executive Council Member Dr. Kenvi Phillips - Public History student- Appointed as the Director of the Barack Obama Presidential Library!

Congratulations go to Executive Council Member Dr. Kenvi Phillips, the inaugural Director of the Barack Obama Presidential Library!

Press Release ·
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Washington, DC

Dr. Kenvi Phillips

Dr. Kenvi Phillips

Archivist of the United States Dr. Colleen Shogan announced today that Dr. Kenvi Phillips will serve as the inaugural Director of the Barack Obama Presidential Library, effective June 16, 2024. Dr. Phillips will lead the planning and administration of all Library programs and activities.

“I am excited Dr. Phillips is joining the National Archives as the Director of the Barack Obama Presidential Library. With her extensive experience in libraries and archives and her passion for public history, she will be an excellent steward for our archival and artifact collections and public engagement work,” said Shogan. “As the Director of the first digital presidential library in our system, Kenvi will help shape a new course for how we think about access to, and engagement with, the stories and decisions that helped shape our nation.”

Dr. Phillips has over 20 years of experience in libraries, historic sites, and academic institutions and brings strong collections, research, archival, and programming experience—along with many other firsts—to the role. She most recently served as the first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Brown University Library, where she played an integral role in strategic planning and relationship building across the campus, in the community and region, and with other academic institutions. Dr. Phillips was the first Johanna-Marie Frankel Curator for Race and Ethnicity at Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library, focused on the History of Women in America. She also served as Assistant Curator of Manuscripts at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University and earlier as a historian at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Dr. Phillips earned a doctorate in United States history and a master’s degree in public history from Howard University, and a bachelor of arts in history from the University of Tulsa. 

“The Obama Foundation is excited to work with Dr. Kenvi Phillips as Director of the Barack Obama Presidential Library at the National Archives,” said Valerie Jarrett, Obama Foundation CEO. “Her strong experience in archives and collections will help make the digitized records a great asset that will be available to everyone, everywhere, including historians, researchers, educators and students. We look forward to continuing to work with the National Archives as they provide access to these historic records, and we look forward to displaying artifacts from the Obama Presidential Library in the Foundation’s Obama Presidential Museum, which we will open on the South Side of Chicago in Spring 2026.”

The Barack Obama Presidential Library is one of 15 libraries in the Presidential Library system operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, representing Herbert Hoover through Donald J. Trump. Presidential Libraries and Museums are repositories for each administration’s papers, records and artifacts, and preserve and provide access to historical materials, support research, and curate interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire.