Selma Thomas

Adjunct Instructor of Exhibition Design
Degree programs: 
MA Exhibition Design

Personal Information

Selma Thomas is an award-winning filmmaker and a distinguished museum consultant, based in Washington, DC.  She was a pioneer in bringing digital media to museums, to enhance exhibitions and interpretation, beginning in the late 1980s, with the Smithsonian Institution.   She has continued to consult with the Smithsonian’s multiple museums, and with museums around the world, including the Qatar Museums Authority, where she served as a Senior Advisor, with a dual emphasis on Interpretation and Professional Training. Her experience includes museums of all disciplines, including: children’s museums, zoos, history and cultural museums, art galleries and libraries. She was, from 1999-2009, the Media Editor for Curator: The Museum Journal, and has written widely about the role of digital media in museums; on oral history and public memory; and on museums in the 21st century. A Smithsonian Fellow in 2009, Thomas is currently consulting on the Inaugural Exhibit of the Smithsonian’s newest museum (opening in 2015), the National Museum of African American History & Culture. She has taught digital media and thesis for the Masters Program in Exhibition Design. 

Degree Title: 
B.A., History
College or University: 
Barnard College
Degree Title: 
M.A., History
College or University: 
University of Delaware

2008 Smithsonian Fellow in Museum Practice


Ms. Thomas has written and produced media productions for the National Museum of American History, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Chicago History Museum, the Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Exploratorium, the Library of Congress, and the Tech Museum of Innovation. She has written or edited more than 30 publications on the use of digital media in museums, on public memory and oral histories, and museums in the 21st century. 

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Ms. Thomas is one of the nation’s leading experts in interpretive digital media and its relationship to collections, visitors, and exhibitions. She recently served as the senior advisor for Museum Training and Interpretation for the Qatar Museums Authority in Doha. Her course at the Corcoran College of Art and Design involves critical analyses of interpretive media in museums as well as the design of digital media in multiple formats, including exhibit media, cell phone and audio tours, websites, and social networking.