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Curatorial Office

Painting by Jack Levine

The Curatorial Office of the Smithsonian American Art Museum organizes and oversees the museum’s exhibitions and acquisitions programs. It also researches, conserves, and displays the national collection.


Smithsonian American Art Museum curators have broad expertise, and their research interests encompass the full range of American art from the past to the present. Selected short biographies are available online.

  • Virginia M. Mecklenburg, chief curator—twentieth-century art, the Ash Can School, and New Deal art
  • Abraham Thomas, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge, Renwick Gallery
  • Nora Atkinson, The Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, Renwick Gallery
  • Melissa Ho, curator—twentieth-century art
  • Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator—nineteenth and early twentieth-century art, landscape painting, southwestern and Texas art
  • John Jacob, The McEvoy Family Curator for Photography
  • Karen Lemmey, curator—sculpture
  • Crawford Alexander Mann III, curator—prints and drawings
  • Joanna Marsh, senior curator of contemporary interpretation
  • Sarah Newman, The James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art
  • E. Carmen Ramos, deputy chief curator and curator of Latino art
  • William Truettner, senior curator emeritus
  • Leslie Umberger, curator—folk and self-taught art

Exhibitions and Publications

Extensive research by the Smithsonian American Art Museum curatorial staff produces large-scale exhibitions with catalogues as well as smaller shows that draw from the museum’s permanent collection. Information about current exhibitions, past exhibitions, and upcoming exhibitions is available online. The museum also maintains an ambitious schedule of traveling exhibitions.

Inquires about Donating Artworks

If you are an artist, collector, or dealer with an artwork you wish to be considered by the museum for acquisition, please follow the guidelines for sending information to the museum’s Curatorial Office (by mail only please), available at the bottom of the New Acquisitions page of the website.

Lunder Conservation Center

The museum’s conservation staff, who work in five labs and studios that comprise the Lunder Conservation Center, are responsible for the treatment of works in the museum’s collection. Conservators specialize in painting, paper, and three-dimensional objects. The center is equipped with a hot table, ultraviolet and infrared viewing systems, stereomicroscopes, suction table for stain removal, sink for washing works of art on paper, spray booth, fume hood, and other specialized tools for the treatment of works of art. The conservation staff also monitors temperature and humidity in the galleries, as well as other tools that measure visual spectrum and ultraviolet light.

  • Tiarna Doherty—chief of conservation
  • Daniel Finn—media conservator
  • Amber Kerr— painting conservator
  • Martin Kotler—frames conservator
  • Kate Maynor—paper conservator
  • Ariel O'Connor—objects conservator

For further information about the Curatorial Office, contact us at AmericanArtCurator[at]

Pictured: Jack Levine, Art Gallery, about 1942, lithograph, 10 1/4 x 8 1/2 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Baum in memory of Edith Gregor Halpert