Martha Tedeschi will present at the Museum Conversations Seminar on Tuesday, November 27, at 6 pm. Her talk is entitled “Field Notes: How the Harvard Art Museums are Responding.”

As a first-time museum director and a relative newcomer to the university art museum and its varied constituencies, Tedeschi is reflecting on the unique characteristics of the Harvard Art Museums and also on the responsibilities it shares with other types of museums. In a moment when object-based teaching is helping faculty and students across a wide curriculum find innovation, passion, and new direction in their disciplines, university museums must also take seriously their potential as the place where the university and the world connects. Harvard’s new president, Lawrence Bacow, argues that major research universities need more than ever to communicate their value to the public; it would seem that university art museums have an important and evolving role to play—maybe more than ever before. Are university art museums the “front porch”? This talk will explore the implications of this idea.

Martha Tedeschi is the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums, a post she assumed in July, 2016. Prior to her arrival at Harvard she served as Deputy Director for Art and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she also enjoyed a long tenure as a curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings. A specialist in 19th-century British and American Art, Tedeschi has organized exhibitions and written in particular depth about the art of James McNeill Whistler, Winslow Homer, and John Marin and has frequently collaborated with conservators and conservation scientists. She received her BA from Brown University, her MA from the University of Michigan and her PhD from Northwestern University. Tedeschi was a 2012 Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership and served on the board of the Association of Art Museum Curators (2015/16). She is also the recent past president of the Print Council of America (2009–2013). A member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, she has a keen interest in the training and preparation of curators and is a strong advocate both for innovative approaches to object-based teaching and research and for building a more inclusive pipeline into museum professions.