Frédérique Irwin Named President and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum
Washington, DC — The National Women’s History Museum, the nation’s leading cultural institution for women’s history, announced today that Frédérique Irwin has been named its next president and Chief Executive Officer effective today. Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) is an innovative cultural institution and online museum dedicated to uncovering, interpreting, and celebrating women’s diverse contributions to society. A renowned leader in women’s history education, the Museum brings to life the countless untold stories of women throughout history, and serves as a space for all to inspire, experience, collaborate, and amplify women’s impact—past, present, and future. NWHM strives to fundamentally change the way women and girls see their potential and power.
Frédérique Irwin has more than 25 years of experience in strategic management, nonprofit and commercial business, operations, impact, and entrepreneurship. Since 2021, she has served as Managing Director of Impact Strategy at the Sorenson Impact Center, where she manages high-level partnerships with leading organizations in the social impact sector. During that time she also led initiatives around improving equity in higher education and driving systems-level change for equity for women in entrepreneurship. She was the founder and CEO of Her Corner, a company educating women on how to scale their businesses, from 2012 until its sale in 2021. Over that period, she expanded Her Corner across multiple cities in the US, was a frequent speaker on the state of entrepreneurship for women in the US, and helped thousands of women-owned businesses scale. Her work supporting women earned her a spot as a New Zealand Edmund Hillary Fellow, a global fellowship for impact leaders. She has taught business management, entrepreneurship, and organizational behavior at the Kogod School of Business at American University.
“I am thrilled that Frédérique is joining the National Women’s History Museum at this dynamic time,” said Susan D. Whiting, Board Chair, NWHM. “She is a proven leader with the CEO experience and the vision to help us bring to life the remarkable role women have played in the American story.”
“I am delighted to join the National Women’s History Museum, and their incredible staff and Board of Directors, at this exciting moment in time,” said Frédérique Irwin. “Now is the time to bring more stories of local women’s history, tied to the national narrative, to communities around the country. The recent exhibition opening at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC is the first of what I believe will be key partnerships with libraries and cultural institutions across the country. My goal is to bring to life the Museum’s vision to inspire women, girls, and all people, with past and current stories of women in their own communities who have forged paths before them.”
The appointment comes just after the debut of NWHM’s inaugural in-person exhibition, which opened in March at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. Entitled We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC, the exhibition highlights more than 20 Black women activists whose work in Washington, DC influenced national policy from the turn of the 20th century through the civil rights and Black Power movements. Learn more about the exhibition here and here. It is free to the public and runs through September 2024. The museum plans to work in communities across the nation to uncover local women’s history and build sustainable and scalable programming and exhibitions housed in local libraries, cultural institutions, and community gathering spaces.
Last month, NWHM also hosted its Women Making History Awards in Washington, DC with actors Meryl Streep and Viola Davis serving as honorary co-chairs. Attending the black-tie, sold-out event as awardees were: Willie Pearl Mackey King, a civil rights activist who worked for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and transcribed his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, which he wrote on newspaper edges, table napkins, toilet paper, and other scraps of paper; Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s longest congressional representative; acclaimed actresses Sharon Stone and Uma Thurman; and supermodel Ashley Graham.
About the National Women's History Museum
Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) is an innovative museum dedicated to uncovering, interpreting, and celebrating women’s diverse contributions to society. A renowned leader in women’s history education, the Museum brings to life the countless untold stories of women throughout history, and serves as a space for all to inspire, experience, collaborate, and amplify women’s impact—past, present, and future. We strive to fundamentally change the way women and girls see their potential and power.
The NWHM fills in major omissions of women in history books and K-12 education, providing scholarly content and educational programming for teachers, students, and parents. We reach more than four million visitors each year through our online content and education programming and, in March 2023, mounted our first physical exhibit at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, DC, We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC. The Museum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and visit us at womenshistory.org.