Space History Department Curator

Dr. Emily A. Margolis is a social and cultural historian of spaceflight with expertise in women's and gender studies. She is Curator of Contemporary Spaceflight in a Global Framework at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and is also responsible for the Museum’s Mercury and Gemini collections. 

From 2020-2023, Margolis was jointly appointed to the National Air and Space Museum and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory as Curator of American Women’s History, a position funded by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. In this role, she established the Museum’s annual Sally’s Night celebration. 

Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Margolis was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum (2019-2020). She holds a PhD in History of Science and Technology from Johns Hopkins University, MA in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from the University of Oklahoma, and BA in Physics from Princeton University.

Margolis’s current book project, “Let Me Play Among the Stars”: A Long History of Space Tourism, 1958-2021, explores how spaceflight has shaped—and been shaped by—Americans' travel preferences and practices. She is co-curating two forthcoming exhibitions. 

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