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Katherine H.  Palmer, DMA

Non-profit leader

Museum professional


Arts Educator



Katherine Palmer enjoys a multifaceted career as a non-profit leader, museum professional, and arts educator. She is the senior director of education and community engagement at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN where she oversees the institution’s educational and community offerings, manages the Taylor Swift Education Center, and supports the museum’s education council.

Prior to joining the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Katherine served as the curator of education at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix (AZ), where she was instrumental in molding MIM’s educational approach and overseeing programming content for diverse audiences, from early childhood to older adults. Katherine continues to serve as a Faculty Associate in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

Passionate about early childhood education and world music, she was awarded the 2021 Gretsch Fellow in Children's Music at the Fred Rogers Institute at St. Vincent College where she investigated how diverse music making and listening can promote empathy and cultural awareness. Find her white paper, “Expanding the Neighborhood: Diversifying Music Making and Listening, Inspired by Fred Rogers” here.

Between 2016-2023, Katherine was the executive director of Daraja Music Initiative (DMI), a non-profit organization – registered 501(c)3 and international NGO – that provides music and environmental conservation education in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania during the summer months to students. Aiming to bridge the arts and sciences, DMI promotes sustainability of African Blackwood trees from which clarinets – and other instruments – are constructed as a tool to promote environmental stewardship through the arts. She is an active board member.


During her time in Phoenix, she performed with the Mill Ave Chamber Players and appeared with a variety of musical groups including Arizona Musicfest, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Phoenix Theatre Company. In addition to frequent national and regional appearances, Katherine has also presented papers, workshops, and performances at international conferences for the College Music Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the International Clarinet Association’s annual ClarinetFests, and the International Society for Music Education.

Katherine holds degrees from the University of Miami (BM) and Arizona State University (MM, MA, and DMA) in music performance (clarinet) and ethnomusicology.

"Arts education is about relationship building. It gives people the tools to better understand themselves, one another, and the world around them."
–Katherine Palmer

Passions & Projects

Passions & Projects


Connecting people of all ages with world music cultures