Worcester Art Museum Names Whitner Director of Curatorial Affairs
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
GoLocalWorcester Lifestyle Team
|Claire Chandler Whitner named Director of Curatorial Affairs and James A. Welu Curator of European Art|
“Claire has demonstrated a dynamic approach to rethinking a museum’s exhibitions and how an institution can use this process to improve audience engagement. While her roots are in European art history, from Old Masters to the Modern period, her work at the Davis Museum extended across a wide spectrum. This includes many of the leadership and management functions that will be central to her position at WAM. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Museum at this exciting time,” said Matthias Waschek, C. Jean and Myles McDonough Director of the Worcester Art Museum.
Whitner will begin her new post on August 20 of 2018.
“I have deep respect and admiration for the Worcester Art Museum’s vision to create a dynamic encyclopedic museum, one that works to demonstrate the relevance of art to the lives of all its visitors. Across its different collections, WAM has been on the forefront of rethinking how to present works of art, and identifying the questions that should be asked about historical objects decades, centuries, or even millenia after they were made. While I am sorry to leave my colleagues at the Davis Museum, I am excited about the opportunities ahead of us in Worcester,” said Whitner.
Whitner graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with degrees in English and German. She subsequently earned a Masters and Ph.D. in Germanic languages from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation focused on modernist design in Germany and was advised by faculty in the German, Art History, and Comparative Literature departments. She joined the Davis Museum at Wellesley College as Associate Curator in 2014, where her projects included co-curating the Davis. ReDiscovered. A major initiative that created 19 new permanent collections galleries in the Museum, the Davis. ReDiscovered doubled the number of works from the collection on view, while providing fresh educational materials and installation approaches.
In May 2016, Whitner was promoted to Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator, taking on a range of leadership roles supporting donor cultivation, grant development, and exhibition planning. In addition, she continued her work as curator with exhibitions such as Anni Albers: Connections (2016), On Distant Shores: Landscapes by Constable and Kensett (2017), and #ART-LESS: the Davis. Without Immigrants (2017).
Prior to her time at the Davis, Whitner worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as a Curatorial Research Fellow, focused on the MFA’s pre-1800 European paintings collection. She has also served as a Curatorial/Exhibition Assistant at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and as a Research Assistant at the Getty Research Institute at the J. Paul Getty Museum.