Pachter, former director of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, shares how genuine empathy and forthright interview questions help an interviewee drop their public persona and allow a glimpse into their private life.
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Marc Pachter was appointed director of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC in July 2000 and worked here until January 2008. From 1994 to 2000, he was counselor to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute.
For most of his career at the Smithsonian, he served as chief historian of the National Portrait Gallery, with particular interest in America's cultural relationship with the non-American world and with the function of biography as a genre of history. Dr. Pachter is the editor of "Telling Lives: The Biographer's Art" in which seven acclaimed biographers interpret the art of biography. Dr. Pachter was also chair of the delegation of America's cultural critics to the Soviet Union in 1989. From 1985 to 1990, he was senior cultural advisor to the United States Information Agency.
An author and editor with a particular interest in cultural history and biography, Dr. Pachter has conducted public interviews for the Smithsonian with such notable figures as Agnes de Mille, William L. Shirer, Umberto Eco, Katharine Graham, and Walter Cronkite.