Over a 35-year career, Deborah has had a wide range of experiences that inform her practice. From 2006 until 2020 she was President and CEO of Brooklyn Historical Society, a nationally renowned urban history center founded in 1863. During her tenure at BHS, Ms. Schwartz planned and guided capital projects; award-winning Oral History Programs; a multi-faceted project on the history of Abolition; programs for teenagers; and community curated exhibitions. In 2020, Ms. Schwartz successfully led the effort to merge Brooklyn Historical Society with the Brooklyn Public Library.
Throughout her career, she has consulted with organizations including The Pew Charitable Trust, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art and Storytelling, Yiddish Book Center, American Federation of Arts, The Berkshire Museum, Harley Davidson Corporation, Jewish Museum (New York), New York State Council on the Arts, The Parrish Art Museum, and the Center for Brooklyn History. She has helped organizations formulate strategic plans, rethink governance structures, plan educational curriculum, and restructure staffing models. She has participated in numerous diversity and equity plans, and helped institutions articulate their mission, vision and values.
From 2002 to 2006 she served as the Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2002, she curated the critically acclaimed exhibition, Art Inside Out for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan that featured work by contemporary artists Elizabeth Murray, William Wegman, and Fred Wilson. From 1983 to 2000 Ms. Schwartz was Vice Director for Education and Program Development at the Brooklyn Museum.
A recognized leader in the field of museum education, she has taught graduate seminars in Museum Studies for Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Columbia University Teachers College and Bank Street College. Internationally, Ms. Schwartz has offered workshops on non-profit leadership in China and the Ukraine.
Schwartz has published articles on public discourse and community building in museums. Most recently, she is a contributing author to Change is Required: Preparing for the Post-Pandemic Museum; and Partnership Power, Essential Museum Strategies for Today’s Networked World.
Deborah is Board President of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, a regional organization that supports and promotes excellence, ethics, and accessibility in museum practices to make the museums of the Mid-Atlantic region better able to preserve and interpret our diverse cultural, scientific, and aesthetic heritage. Deborah also serves as Vice-Chair of the Education Committee at Storm King Art Center.