The Lenfest Challenge
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is home to an extraordinary collection of works of art—cared for, studied and conserved by, and presented to the public by a nationally esteemed group of museum professionals. In addition to strengthening the Museum’s operating support, endowed positions affirm the centrality of these roles to the life and mission of the Museum to inspire, delight, and educate visitors of all backgrounds and ages. Museum Chairman Emeritus Gerry Lenfest, together with his wife, Marguerite, has established an extraordinary 1:1 matching-grant program—The Lenfest Challenge—designed to raise $54 million in endowment funds towards senior and mid-level staff positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. These positions span curatorial, conservation, library, archives, education, marketing, and publishing functions with the goal of attracting and retaining the best and brightest professionals in their fields. This generous matching-grant will enable your contributed funds to go much further and is only available through December 31, 2013. A portion of your commitment may be made through a planned gift. To learn more about endowing a position and how you can help secure the future of the Museum, please call 215-684-7344. Positions remaining to be endowed
Chairman Emeritus Gerry Lenfest
- Deputy Director for Collections and Programs
- Curator of Drawings
- Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
- Conservator of Furniture and Woodwork
- Conservation Scientist
- Executive Director of Marketing
- Associate Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art
- Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings
- Associate Curator of Modern Art
- Librarian for Collection Development
- Librarian for Reader Services
- Assistant Library Director
Working closely with the Director, curators, conservators, and registrars, the Deputy Director for Collections and Programs oversees and coordinates all activities pertaining to the Museum’s collection, including acquisitions, deaccessions, loans, storage, installations and packing, registration, and documentation. The Deputy Director also participates in the planning and implementation of special projects that affect or involve the Museum’s collection. A true veteran staff member, Alice Beamesderfer has been an employee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for more than twenty-five years. First hired as a Project Coordinator for Philadelphia Art Now, she was subsequently appointed Special Assistant to the Director for Projects by late Museum Director Anne d’Harnoncourt, before moving on to Assistant Director and then Associate Director for Collections and Project Support. Upon Miss d’Harnoncourt’s death, Ms. Beamesderfer took on a key leadership role as the Interim Head of Curatorial Affairs, sharing management of the Museum with Gail Harrity. Upon his installation as the new George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Rub promoted Ms. Beamesderfer to Deputy Director for Collections and Exhibitions, where together they shaped her responsibilities into the current position as Deputy Director of Collections and Programs. Ms. Beamesderfer is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University. Overseeing all programmatic, special exhibition, and collection-based aspects of Museum operations, Ms. Beamesderfer assists the Director with the management and coordination of core functions: the care and documentation of the collection, the presentation of the collection in the Museum’s galleries and on the website, and the development and implementation of the Museum’s program of temporary exhibitions. She works closely with all curatorial departments and the Division of Education and Public Programs to ensure that the Museum’s collections and exhibitions are presented and interpreted in ways that will engage the public. A gifted leader who takes joy in the partnerships her work affords, Ms. Beamesderfer finds pride in “the finished product”—a transformative acquisition’s arrival into its new home, a special exhibition being shared with the public, or a successful round of programming bringing new audiences through the Museum’s doors.
As part of the Museum's Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Curator of Drawings Ann Percy is responsible for about 12,000 works of art--among them masterpieces by the likes of Cézanne, Seurat, Degas, Klee, Picasso, and Braque. Her many duties involve planning exhibitions and installations and producing the accompanying publications, presenting papers and lectures for the scholarly community and the public alike, and assessing the fragile collection for conservation purposes. All the while, she is continually researching and proposing new acquisitions while simultaneously building relationships with collectors, sponsors, artists, and dealers. With degrees from Sweet Briar College and Pennsylvania State University, as well as a Ph.D. in art history from the University of London's Courtauld Institute of Art, Ann began her career as the art history editor at the Pennsylvania State University Press. She came to the Museum as Assistant Curator of Drawings in 1972, ultimately achieving the position of Curator in 1984. Her path has been distinguished by a prestigious roster of awards and fellowships here and abroad, and the exhibitions with which she has been involved reflect both her own vast experience as well as the diversity of the Museum's holdings. One of her more recent shows, for example, was 2008's acclaimed James Castle: A Retrospective, the first comprehensive museum exhibition featuring the work of this self-taught artist. Building on its momentum, Ann is currently organizing another exhibition featuring similar types of art, this time from the fine collection of Philadelphians Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz. These works are promised gifts to the Museum--gifts that will increase its holdings of "outsider" art by about 60% and make Philadelphia a leading destination to study this fascinating field.
Overseeing the methods and materials that are used in the examination, treatment, safe storage, and exhibition of a collection that dates back to 2500 BCE is among the top priorities of the Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, but the responsibilities do not end there. The Conservator must also be aware of various aspects of installation, handling, packing, and shipping that could affect an object's long term condition, while at the same time supervising a laboratory and managing a staff of conservators, fellows, and interns. Today, that role is filled by Melissa S. Meighan, who first came to the Museum in 1983 as a National Museum Act Advance Intern. She subsequently held the positions of Assistant and Associate Curator of Decorative Arts before assuming her current title in 1996. Melissa's interest in the medium grew from her early field experience in ancient Near Eastern archeology, as well as work in studio art and a passion for making pottery. She completed her studies at the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where she earned an MA degree and a certification in conservation. Since joining the Museum's staff, Melissa has worked with important examples of ceramics including the Museum's vast collection of Dutch tiles, a rare seventeenth-century Mexican vase, and a pair of magnificent sixteenth-century vases from Urbino by Orazio Fontana. Her commitment to the Museum's holdings of sculpture is similarly impressive and has encompassed intensive work with objects by Thomas Eakins and Constantin Brancusi, as well as with the collections of the Rodin Museum. A few of Melissa's other rewarding projects include a 2007 collaboration that she implemented with the Art Institute of Chicago, involving the documentation and sampling of sixteen bronze sculptures, and coordinating the comparison of three late eighteenth-century busts of Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Antoine Houdon. For the latter study, Melissa initiated the use of high-density digital scanning as a tool in her work. She carried out another technical study for the Museum's exhibition Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés, this time involving research in Paris, Stockholm, and Buenos Aires on fabrication of the work's female figure. With regard to the permanent collection, Melissa's skill and expertise has been invaluable in preparing objects for photography--namely works of art in the Museum's great collections of arms and armor and American silver.
Melissa S. Meighan
The Museum's furniture and woodwork conservators are responsible for the care of a vast collection of furniture and other wooden artifacts including frames, architectural elements, and period-room interiors spanning from the fourteenth century to the present. Leading this talented group is Behrooz Salimnejad, the Museum's current Conservator of Furniture and Woodwork. Behrooz comes from a distinguished family tradition in the arts that includes carpet design and restoration. His career path was nurtured early on during an appren¬ticeship with the Khiabani Art Studios in Tabriz, Azerbaijan, where he explored and honed his skills in areas including painting, sculpting, furniture making and restoration, gilding, and carving. After earning a BA in fine arts `from Tehran University and an MS degree in art from Indiana State University, Behrooz continued his education in Germany at Nurnberg Art Academy and Regensburg University before returning to the States to study chemistry for art conservation at Kutztown University. Fluent in English, German, Persian, Azeri, and Turkish, he brings an invaluable multicultural perspective to his work. Behrooz began at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a volunteer in 1991. The next year, he officially joined the staff as Assistant Conservator of Furniture; advancing to Associate Conservator in 1995, and finally being named Conservator of Furniture and Woodwork in 2004. Among his recent projects are an examination and intensive instrumental analysis of early Italian cassoni (ornate Renaissance wedding chests) in the collection; the conservation treatment of an Alphonse Mattia table and chairs; and a cross-section analysis and wood identification for a group of nineteenth-century painted chairs--the results of which were published in The Magazine Antiques in May 2006. Behrooz was also behind the conservation treatment of a gilded French console table, which led to a research project that was presented at the 2005 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Currently, Behrooz is researching and documenting the styles, workmanship, and materials of frames by American artist Frederick W. Harer, as well as conducting a comparative study of European gilding materials and techniques that will shed new light on misunderstood practices and recreate traditional surface treatments. In addition to this, Behrooz is an artist himself. Not only is his work regularly shown in area exhibitions, but he also teaches a variety of courses--among them the chemistry of wood, three-dimensional design, drawing, and painting--at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
The Conservation department is divided into six areas of expertise: Decorative Arts and Sculpture; Paintings; Works of Art on Paper; Furniture and Woodwork; Costume and Textiles; and the Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory. The department includes thirteen conservators and two scientists, along with postgraduate fellows, interns, a photographer, a framer, and administrative support staff. The Conservation department has provided advanced training for developing professionals through more than one hundred internships and fellowships over the past thirty years, producing skilled conservators who now work at some of the finest institutions worldwide. In addition, the Museum’s conservators collaborate in teaching programs with the Museum’s Division of Education and Public Programs, local colleges, and graduate studies programs. Treatment of each object is guided by its specific condition as determined by examination, and varies substantially. Priorities for treatment are generated through comprehensive study of the collection, discussions among conservators and curators, and exhibition and loan schedules. Written reports and photographic documentation record all aspects of the condition assessment, materials research, and treatment procedures. The chemical and physical stability of all works of art are affected by environment; consequently, a substantial component of the Conservation department’s work is focused on monitoring and maintaining optimum gallery, storage, and transport conditions (humidity, temperature, light, and air quality). The Conservation Scientist undertakes collaborative research with the Museum’s conservators and curators to investigate questions relating to the materials of works of art and cultural artifacts, their deterioration, and conservation. He or she disseminates research results through scholarly publications and presentations at national and international conferences, in addition to participating in public and university lectures. The Scientist imple¬ments and optimizes analytical protocols for the characterization of natural and synthetic organic materials, and ensures that the laboratory and instrumentation are maintained and updated in keeping with the latest advances in technology. In addition to participating in laboratory budgeting, fundraising, and grant-writing activities, he or she also supervises laboratory interns and volunteers.
Created in 2012, this new leadership position represents a key step toward Director Timothy Rub’s goal to improve institutional positioning and align the Museum’s services with the city’s needs. The Executive Director of Marketing and Communications is integral to the implementation of the Museum’s Strategic Plan and preparations for a comprehensive campaign. As leader of the Marketing and Communications department, the individual in this role oversees the divisions of Communications, Editorial and Graphic Design, and Special Events. Tasked with guiding these various functions toward a unified vision, the Executive Director of Marketing and Communications ensures that all parts of the whole are working in harmony. Jennifer Francis joined the Museum staff in August 2012 after nearly nine years as Head of Press and Marketing at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Interested in the field of marketing from an early age, Ms. Francis received her MA in Cultural Leadership and Policy Management at London’s City University. She has worked as Public Relations Executive at the London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association, Head of Media Relations at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Head of Media Relations at the Royal College of Art, and Director of Communication at the Drum Art Center, and has provided consulting services to a number of high-profile organizations in Great Britain. Ms. Francis was drawn to her profession by a deep interest in how individuals make decisions, and her expertise has come from a life spent examining this process. Her goals for her new role align with the Museum’s mission of amplifying its voice in the local, regional, national, and international cultural community, reactivating the collection, and connecting with new audiences.
The Associate Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art works closely with senior curatorial staff to conceive, develop, and implement plans to enhance, exhibit, document, and maintain the Museum’s collections. Through scholarly research, the Associate Curator is responsible for cataloguing and interpreting collection objects, and for increasing access to the collections through exhibitions, publications, lectures, tours, and the Museum’s website. The Associate Curator helps to determine ways in which to build the collection by identifying, researching, and justifying potential acquisitions, and, conversely, by determining ways in which to refine the collection through the process of deaccessioning. In addition to assisting in major special exhibitions, the Associate Curator initiates changes that take place in the department’s galleries and is responsible for proposing, planning, and realizing collections-based installations. He or she also oversees the department’s storage areas and collaborates with Museum conservators in identifying and scheduling treatment for works of art in need of attention. The Associate Curator serves as a liaison to the Museum’s Division of Education and Public Programs and provides regular training for each new class of Museum Guides, continuing education for existing Guides, and lectures and tours aimed at a variety of audiences. He or she is also responsible for building relationships with the academic community through membership and leadership in national and international art historical organizations and through associations with university programs. In doing so, the Associate Curator meets with visiting curators and scholars from institutions across the United States and abroad, works with community organizations to advance the mission of the department, and travels to galleries, dealers, and museum exhibitions nationally and internation¬ally.
Working closely with other department curators as well as conservators and support staff, the Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings plays a crucial role in helping to keep the Museum's Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs vibrant, relevant, and accessible. Currently in the position is Shelley R. Langdale, who began her career at the Museum as an Assistant Curator in 2002 before being named Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings in 2006. Shelley holds a BA in art history with honors from Bowdoin College and an MA in the history of art from Williams College, and she held curatorial positions at Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Cleveland Museum of Art before coming to Philadelphia. Over the past several years, she has organized and collaborated on a number of exhibitions, presentations, publications, and events not only in the Museum, but also in the greater Philadelphia community and beyond. Among her noteworthy accomplishments, Shelley presented a survey of screenprints in the exhibition Popular, Pop, & Post-Pop: Color Screenprints 1930s to Now in 2003-04; co-curated the international loan exhibition Edvard Munch's "Mermaid" and co-authored the accompanying publication in 2005; and oversaw the Museum's presentation of the traveling exhibition Grand Scale: Monumental Prints in the Age of Dürer and Titian in 2009. More recently, she organized 2010's Picturing the West: Yokohama Prints 1859-1870s, and was a member of the curatorial team for the inaugural presentation of Philagrafika 2010. As a key part of this international contemporary art festival, she was directly responsible for the Museum's installations of work by Colombian artist Óscar Muñoz and Japanese artist Tabaimo. Throughout, Shelley has worked tirelessly to bring the permanent collection to the public--as a lecturer, co-coordinator of educational initiatives, and presenter for special Museum groups. She is currently working on an exhibition entitled Full Spectrum: Prints from the Brandywine Workshop, and is researching the Museum's extensive collection of Italian 16th-century chiaroscuro woodcuts in preparation for a major loan exhibition that she is organizing with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Beyond that, she is behind a successful monthly curatorial brown bag lunch program, is a board member and Program Committee chair at The Print Center, Philadelphia, and serves on the board of the Lower East Side Printshop in Manhattan. The work that she does as Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings is far-reaching and integral to the institution as a whole.
Shelley R. Langdale
Combining expertise in art history and fine arts scholarship with extensive knowledge of the Museum's holdings and a strong understanding of current library innovations, the Librarian for Collection Development is dedicated to nurturing the growth of a very distinctive collection. Today, this multi-faceted job is held by Mary Wassermann. An art history graduate of Kent State University, Mary began her professional career in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress before joining the National Gallery of Art. During her tenure there, she earned an MS degree in Library Science from the Catholic University of America. In 1995, she came to Philadelphia to join the Museum's staff as Slide Librarian. She was promoted to Associate Librarian in 1997, and to her current position in 2005. Over the course of her career at the Museum, Mary has been instrumental in updating and streamlining the storage and organization of Library materials. As Slide Librarian, she not only managed the Museum's collection of 200,000 slides and digital images, but also improved access to the collection by standardizing slide cataloging and filing systems. She initiated new policies for lending and image duplication, and coordinated the needs of various Museum departments in order to provide images for exhibition planning, guides training, and educational programs. From 1999 to 2001, she served on the data standards advisory group for the implementation of the Museum's collection management system (TMS), contributing her knowledge of information protocols to make it more accessible to Museum staff. Mary has also curated a number of Library exhibitions, among them Gorky in New York, Celebrating Picasso, and Good Modern Work: Women Gallerists in America. Mary has furthered her career development through involvement in professional organizations such as the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), where she served on the Development Committee and was Chair of the Visual Resources Division. She has also contributed to ARLIS/NA publications, and has given several presentations on a variety of library-related subjects outside of the Museum. She was honored in 2005 with the Nancy DeLaurier Award, given by the Visual Resources Association in recognition of her efforts launching the inaugural 2004 Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management. Strongly supporting the view that a library is essentially organic and must continually evolve, Mary is committed to ensuring that the Library remains a fundamental and vital resource for the growth of the Museum.
Directing all Library users to the information they need, working closely with curators to assemble important materials for upcoming exhibitions, and assisting the conservation department, publishing personnel, and volunteer staff as they develop their projects are just a few of the responsibilities of the Librarian for Reader Services. Today, this important role is held by Evan B. Towle, who came to the Museum in 2005 as the Visual and Digital Resources Librarian and advanced to his current position in 2008. In his time here, he has contributed greatly to the expansion and development of the Library's operations and its capacity to serve both Museum staff and non-staff visiting researchers--especially following the Library's move in 2007 to its handsome new facilities in the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building. He has also developed comprehensive training and support sessions in the use of visual, printed, and digital resources for teaching and research. Evan's professional experience began as Archives and Special Collections Assistant as well as the Media Resources Coordinator at Mount Holyoke College, where he graduated cum laude with a BA in anthropology and a minor in English. He also holds a Master's degree in Library Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons College. Upon moving to Philadelphia in 2001, Evan worked as the Assistant Archivist and Photograph Curator for Temple University's Urban Archives, a collection documenting Philadelphia in the twentieth century. He has also worked as a Reference Librarian at Temple University's main library. Evan is very active in the professional community as well--he is a member of the Visual Resources Association (VRA) and the Summer Educational Institute Implementation Committee, the Art Library Society of North America, and the Museum Computer Network.
Working under the general direction of The Arcadia Director of the Library and Archives, the Assistant Library Director is responsible for all aspects of the Library’s technical services operations and digital initiatives. He performs and supervises bibliographic control functions for the Library, and is responsible for cataloging, processing, accessing, and maintaining Library holdings, in addition to digitizing Library collections and records and collating them into a central database to facilitate deployment of information. Billy Chi Hing Kwan joined the Library and Archives staff in spring 2012, having come to the Philadelphia Museum of Art from the Image Library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Throughout his career, Mr. Kwan has developed a deep and broad knowledge of library cataloging, metadata, digitization, and digital asset management, as well as curatorial experience at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. A graduate of the University of Hong Kong and McGill University, Mr. Kwan has assumed increasing responsibility for the care, organization, and management of library collections and informational databases at a diverse range of organizations, from specialized art museum libraries to leading academic and research libraries in the United States, including Harvard University and the Universities of Maryland and Massachusetts. Fluent in Chinese and with a working knowledge of French and Japanese, his language skills are a great resource in processing the multilingual research materials related to the Museum’s encyclopedic collection. Mr. Kwan’s expertise in cataloging, metadata, digitization, and collection management puts him at the forefront of the effort to digitize the holdings of the Museum’s Library and Archives, making an extraordinary collection more accessible to the public, visiting scholars, and Museum staff. His knowledge of museum collection informa¬tion and digital asset management will facilitate in building the Museum’s digital repositories and information infrastructure.
Billy Chi Hing Kawn
- The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art
- The Martha Hamilton Morris Archivist
- The Constance Williams Curator of Education, School and Teacher Programs
- The William T. Ranney Director of Publishing
- The Gloria and Jack Drosdick Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1900 and the Rodin Museum
- Senior Scientist (title to be determined)
- The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center
- The Kathy and Ted Fernberger Curator of Prints
- The Montgomery-Garvan Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts
- The Aronson Senior Conservator of Paintings and Vice Chair of Conservation
- The Hannah L. and J. Welles Henderson Associate Curator of Chinese Art
- The Le Vine Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles and Supervising Curator for the Study Room
- The Zoë and Dean Pappas Curator of Education, Public Programs
- The Penny and Bob Fox Conservator of Costume and Textiles
- The John and Chara Haas Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
- The Louis C. Madeira IV Associate Curator of European Decorative Arts
- The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700
- The Charles K. Williams, II, Senior Conservator of Works of Art on Paper
- The John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick Director of Information and Interpretive Technologies
- The Joan and John Thalheimer Conservator of Paintings
- The Kathy and Ted Fernberger Associate Director for Interactive Technology
- The Agnes and Jack Mulroney Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1900
- The Berton and Sallie Korman Associate Curator of Education for Family and Community Learning
- The Park Family Director of Installation Design
- Conservator of Paintings (title to be determined)
For more information, please contact Development by phone at (215) 684-7750, by fax at (215) 236-0796, or by e-mail at .