Bill Tompkins
Under Secretary for Museums and Culture

William G. Tompkins

Director, National Collections Program

William G. Tompkins has been the director of the Smithsonian’s National Collections Program since 1993. Tompkins serves as principal advisor to Smithsonian senior management, unit directors, and staff on matters relating to collections management. He is responsible for the development, administration, and implementation of collections management standards at the Institutional level, including the review and approval of individual Smithsonian collecting unit policies to ensure collections are acquired, maintained, and used according to Smithsonian policy, professional standards, and legal obligations. He contributes to the formulation and execution of the Smithsonian annual budget related to collections care, administering the allocation of central resources to address Smithsonian-wide collections needs. Tompkins strives to improve the overall stewardship and management of Smithsonian collections by providing central leadership, policy oversight, strategic planning and support of Smithsonian-wide collections initiatives.

Prior to becoming director, Tompkins served as assistant director of the Smithsonian’s Office of the Registrar from 1990 to 1993. Previously, Tompkins was the collections manager of the National Numismatic Collection at the National Museum of American History, where he was responsible for the management and preservation of collections totaling approximately 1 million objects. With thirty years of experience in the museum profession, Tompkins lectures frequently on museum collections management, policy standards, and strategic planning at professional meetings, workshops, and university museum studies programs.

A native of New York, Tompkins earned his master’s degree at the State University of New York at Albany (1982) and bachelor’s degree in history at Hartwick College (1979) in Oneonta, New York.