Melissa Ho, Curator

September 15, 2023

Melissa Ho is the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s curator of 20th-century art; she joined the museum’s staff in September 2016. Ho is responsible for research, acquisitions and exhibitions related to the museum’s collections focusing on art since 1945. She currently is leading an initiative to expand and enrich the representation of Asian American experiences, perspectives and artistic accomplishment in the museum’s collection and public displays.  

Recent projects include “American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art” (2023), the first phase of a multiyear renewal and reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection galleries, and “Composing Color: The Paintings of Alma Thomas” (2023), which will travel to several venues in the United States. Ho organized the critically acclaimed exhibition “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975” (2019) and “Artist to Artist” (2021).   

Previously, Ho worked as a curator at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from 2011 to 2016, where she organized “Barbara Kruger: Belief+Doubt” (2012), “Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler” (2014) and “Shirin Neshat: Facing History” (2015) with Melissa Chiu. She also co-curated with Evelyn Hankins “At the Hub of Things” (2014), a re-installation of the museum’s collection.  

Ho earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art and art history from Princeton University and a master’s degree in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. 

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the flagship museum in the United States for American art and craft. It is home to one of the most significant and inclusive collections of American art in the world. The museum’s main building, located at Eighth and G streets N.W., is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum’s Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check online for current hours and admission information. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website:

Press Images

A photograph of Melissa Ho.
Press - Melissa Ho

Photo by Jeff Elkins.