NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma announced today the appointment of Janet Braun, Ph.D., as director of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, pending OU Board of Regents’ approval. Braun has been serving as interim director of the museum since 2020.
Braun, who earned her doctorate from OU, began her career at the Sam Noble Museum in 1984. Since that time, she has held various administrative and curatorial positions, including curator of genomic resources, curator of mammals, head curator, and associate director and head of building operations.
“We are thrilled to announce Dr. Braun as the permanent director of the museum,” said Senior Vice President and Provost for the Norman Campus André-Denis Wright. “Her appointment is a testament to the keen oversight and strong leadership she has provided the museum in her role as interim director. She has devoted nearly 40 years to our organization, having worked in nearly every area, so she is uniquely qualified to serve as its leader. We are sincerely grateful for her dedication.”
Throughout her career with the Sam Noble Museum, Braun has helped acquire grants for major improvements to the collections of mammals, recent invertebrates, genomic resources and archaeology. Her area of research interest has primarily focused on systematics, biogeography and ecology of mammals of Argentina. She has discovered and described new 12 species and genera (groups of species) and made collections, which are being used by researchers throughout the world. As a Fulbright Scholar, she was selected for a fellowship in the American Republics Research Program in Argentina from 1995 to 1996.
She helped establish the Oklahoma Collection of Genomic Resources, the only centralized biorepository in Oklahoma and one of the few in the region, in 2007. Additionally, she has written and published more than 120 professional papers. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Zoology, both from Memphis State University, as well as her Ph.D. in Zoology from OU.
She has received a number of honors for her work, including the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History Director’s Award for Service Beyond the Call and the Director’s Special Award. She has also earned the National Science Collections Alliance and Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections Award for Exceptional Service, as well as the American Society of Mammalogists President’s Special Award for Service.
“The Sam Noble Museum is a special place, providing a major connection between the University of Oklahoma and the people of Oklahoma," Braun said. “The museum is dedicated to holding its more than 12 million artifacts in trust for the people of Oklahoma, while conducting research, developing exhibitions, presenting outreach and education programs, and mentoring students of all ages. Providing Oklahoma with a nationally and internationally award-winning museum as part of its original staff will always be an important part of my personal and professional life. As director, I am excited to provide the leadership so that we may continue to fulfill this mission.”
To learn more about the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, visit samnoblemuseum.ou.edu.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit ou.edu.