Jesse A. Johnston

Jesse A. Johnston image



Jesse A. Johnston, M.S.I., Ph.D., serves as Executive Director and Secretary of NRPF. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. Johnston was appointed to NRPF by Dr. Carla Hayden in 2024 as the Secretary of the NRPF Board of Directors. He joined NRPF in 2023, first as Associate Director and then as Executive Director. Johnston brings a wealth of experience in grantmaking and the federal sector having served as a program officer for preservation and access at the National Endowment for the Humanities and advisor to many digitization grants. As NRPF Secretary, Johnston is responsible for NRPF programs, fundraising, and day-to-day operations.

Johnston is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. He has worked as a librarian and archivist, educator, and an administrator. As a librarian and archivist, he served as a Senior Librarian for digital content at the Library of Congress. He also served as an Archives Specialist in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and worked on metadata and digital description for archival audio collections. As an administrator, he served as a Senior Program Officer for preservation and access and Acting Records Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). While a program officer at NEH, he managed a program portfolio that awarded on average $1.5 million annually, and from 2015 to 2018, he also served as the project lead for NEH Common Heritage, the agency’s first and only community archiving program. In these capacities, Johnston has advised hundreds of digital projects on how to create long-lasting, usable, and valuable digital resources. He has also provided expert advice to researchers developing and presenting digital projects to funders, both federal and private, across the cultural sector.

In addition to this professional service, he has taught courses in information science and musicology at the University of Maryland, George Mason University, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Michigan–Dearborn. In his teaching, he draws on this broad experience in the public sector, cultural heritage, and information studies to provide experiential and applied knowledge, particularly for students studying librarianship and archival studies.

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