Dr. François Barnes Bonnell is the director of the United States Army Women’s Museum, and an expert in the history of women’s contributions to the U.S. military. Since 2006, she has overseen the daily operations of the facility and research center, and directed the museum’s programming and education. She is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums accreditation program, and a committee member for the American Association of State and Local History. Dr. Bonnell has been an adjunct faculty member for various universities and colleges since 1994, including the University of Guam and Central Texas College. She teaches U.S. history and courses in the history of military logistics. She retired from the U.S. Army in 2006 as a lieutenant colonel, having served for 22 years on active duty and in the Army Reserve.
Dr. Bonnell's father, Professor Thomas Garden Barnes, was a founder of the Canadian Studies Program at Berkeley, and Dr. Bonnell has been a longtime and highly committed supporter of his legacy. Dr. Bonnell was raised in Berkeley, but for over forty years has spent summers at the Barnes family’s ancestral home in Nova Scotia, Canada. She has done extensive genealogical research and continues to uncover the roots and intricate relationships that have tied her American and Canadian families together since the 1700s. She holds a B.A. in history and political science from Scripps College, The Claremont Colleges; an M.A. in history from SUNY, Stony Brook; and a Ph.D. in education from Northcentral University.