Speaker Profile

Fath Davis Ruffins
Curator and Historian - The Smithsonian Institution / AEF Project Director

Fath Davis Ruffins is the Curator of African American History and Culture in the Division of Home and Community Life in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (hereafter NMAH). She has been a historian and curator at the Smithsonian Institution since 1981, working in several different divisions over that time. Between 1988 and 2005, she was the head of the Collection of Advertising History at the NMAH Archives Center. She is a specialist in ethnic imagery in popular culture, the history of advertising, on the history of African American preservation efforts, and on the origins of ethnic museums on the National Mall. Ruffins has curated or consulted on several major exhibitions dealing with the African-American experience, and served as guest curator for an opening exhibition on the Abolition movement at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati (2004). She is currently on the executive committee for a major project: Our American Journey: The Smithsonian Immigration/ Migration Initiative.  As part of this pan-Smithsonian effort, Ruffins is also serving as chief curator and project director for a related exhibition at the NMAH whose working title is: Our American Journey: Many Voices, One Nation opening in 2016.