Director of Collections and Head Curator
Content expertise: collections care and maintenance, Museum history, exhibit development, museum storytelling
Kathleen McCarthy is the director of collections and head curator at the Museum of Science and Industry. McCarthy is responsible for the care of MSI's 35,000 artifacts, as well as the research and development of content for exhibits. Recently, McCarthy helped to develop the world-premiere temporary exhibit Robot Revolution, spending several weeks in Japan visiting the top robotics companies. McCarthy also helped develop exhibits Fast Forward: Inventing the Future (2008) and 80 at 80 (2013), a collection of artifacts in celebration of the Museum's 80th anniversary, in addition to Fashion Forward (2014), a one-night event that blended science and fashion, featuring an installation of cutting-edge wearable technology curated from around the world.
Prior to joining MSI, McCarthy was the registrar for the Haifa Faisal Collection of Saudi Arabian Artifacts. She has also worked for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Krannert Art Museum, and taught glassblowing at the Toledo Museum of Art. McCarthy earned her MFA in Sculpture from the University of Illinois, during which she studied art history in Cairo. The recipient of a fellowship award from the Illinois Arts Council, her sculptures have been exhibited across the U.S. and Japan.
McCarthy has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, the Travel Channel's Mysteries at the Museum, and WTTW's Chicago Tonight, and has been interviewed by the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, among others.