She studied English literature at the University of Toronto and the University of California, and received her PhD from Indiana University, where she studied folklore and cultural anthropology. She has taught at several American universities, now she is Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University. She is also the Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw. She serves on Advisory Boards for the Council of American Jewish Museums, Jewish Museum Vienna, Jewish Museum Berlin, and the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. She also advises on museum and exhibition projects in Lithuania, Albania, Israel, and the United States. She has published books on Jewish history, culture and present situation, with a special focus on Polish Jews, as well as books on museology and museum theory. She holds honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, University of Haifa, and Indiana Univeristy, and also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
As a keynote speaker at the conference, she will give her thoughts on the concept of permanent exhibitions.