While the Museum does not officially identify a curator or curatorial office in charge of European decorative arts dating before 1700, the designation allows easy differentiation from the formal curatorial position overseeing "European Decorative Arts after 1700." Each of these categories, along with "Arms and Armor" and "Dutch Ceramics," comprise the four curatorial offices that currently operate under the general division of "European Decorative Arts and Sculpture."
In 1967 the Museum established curatorial offices defined by both time period and object genre. With this change David DuBon, who had previously served as Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts, was appointed Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Decorative Arts. This curatorial designation remained until the end of 1989 when Dean Walker joined the Museum staff. Having been a curator and teacher for the previous ten years at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in addition to his earlier curatorial experience at the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walker was appointed the Henry P. McIlhenny Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture. While his expertise in European sculpture extended to objects of the 18th century, Walker has been indelibly connected with the Museum's pre-1700 decorative art holdings, having collaborated on some of the Museum's most ambitious gallery reinstallations. With Walker's death in 2005, his curatorial position remains open.