NMAAHC Appoints Caribbean American Associate Director for External Affairs

Denise Robinson Simms - Caribbean American / Baltimore Native

WASHINGTON, DC – Denise Robinson Simms was appointed as Associate Director of External Affairs of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).  

In this role, Simms will direct and coordinate all aspects of the Office of Public Affairs, Office of Public Programming, Office of Special Events, and the Office of Visitor and Guest Services. She will also serve as the Museum’s liaison to the Smithsonian’s Office of Government Relations. As a member of the Museum Director’s senior management team, Simms will work closely with senior staff in setting priorities and devising strategies for advancing the Museum’s objectives. 

Denise Robinson Simms National Museum of African American History and Culture
Denise Robinson Simms

Born in Maryland, Denise is a child of immigrants from Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados. Denise joined the staff of the NMAAHC as Manager of Special Events in February 2016, just seven months before the historic grand opening events of the Smithsonian Institution’s 19th Museum. After managing, coordinating, and assisting the NMAAHC Grand Opening Team with producing all of the celebrations and Museum Dedication, Denise began managing the daily operations of the Museum’s first Office of Special Events. The Museum has hosted thousands of events and public programs each year and has welcomed over 8 million visitors since opening on September 24, 2016.

 “I’m grateful for the opportunity to support a very hardworking team as we continue to do the work of telling the unvarnished truth of American History through the African American lens.”

Career Profile

Denise has spent the majority of her career at the Smithsonian, working for 10 years in the Office of Special Events at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) as Special Events Coordinator and then Manager of Special Events.

Before her time at NMAI, she worked as Special Events Coordinator at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) preceded by several internship appointments within the Museum. Prior to the Smithsonian, Denise worked in her hometown at the Baltimore Museum of Art as the Board Liaison from 2004-2005.


 In 2004 Denise earned her Master’s degree in Museum Studies from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and Art History at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland in 2002.


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