Following a nationwide search, Andria Derstine has been named the John G.W. Cowles Director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum (AMAM) at Oberlin College. She will begin her tenure on June 15, 2012.
“The museum is one of Oberlin College’s greatest assets, and we are fortunate to find a highly talented and dedicated individual who understands museums in the academic setting, and who will be effective in designing and implementing programs that will meet the needs of the AMAM’s many constituents on and off campus,” said Sean Decatur, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “With her superb knowledge and understanding of the AMAM collection, excellent academic experience and credentials, and proven ability to lead and manage complex projects, Andria Derstine will make an exceptionally fine director for the AMAM.”
Derstine first came to the AMAM in 2006 as the Curator of Western Art, and was promoted to Curator of Collections and Curator of European & American Art in 2009. Prior to the AMAM, she was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow and then assistant curator in the Department of European Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Derstine earned her baccalaureate degree in history and literature at Harvard University in 1991. She earned her master’s degree (1996) and doctorate (2004) at New York University and also holds a certificate from the Center for Curatorial Leadership in partnership with Columbia University.
“I am absolutely delighted to have been offered the directorship,” said Derstine of her new appointment. “I have a great love for the AMAM’s encyclopedic collection, distinguished history, and record of serious engagement with the Oberlin College curriculum. I look forward to working with the museum’s talented, energetic staff, and Oberlin College’s faculty and staff, to help the AMAM become ever more integral to the Oberlin student experience—while continuing to grow the collection, put on challenging exhibitions, and welcome the general public to our many free programs and events. As the AMAM approaches its centennial in 2017, this is an especially exciting time to take the helm, and I want to thank interim director Katherine Solender (OC 1977) and former director Stephanie Wiles for their legacy of enlightened leadership and excellent management.”
The success of the recent Side by Side: Oberlin’s Masterworks exhibitions, in which highlights of the AMAM’s collection were seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., along with showings of AMAM works in Cleveland, can be in large part ascribed to Derstine. A specialist in 17th- and 18th-century French and Italian painting, she also has a number of scholarly publications to her credit including co-author of the recently published Allen Memorial Art Museum: Highlights from the Collection.
About the Allen Memorial Art Museum
One of the most distinguished university or college art museums in the United States, the AMAM holds an outstanding and growing collection of more than 14,000 objects and plays a significant role in Oberlin’s teaching mission. Opened in 1917, the AMAM has always been free for everyone. The collection is housed in an Italian Renaissance-style building designed by Cass Gilbert. In 1977, a gallery for contemporary art was added to the Gilbert building by the architectural firm of Robert Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown. In fall 2011, the museum reopened after a yearlong comprehensive mechanical systems renovation and significant architectural improvements by Samuel Anderson Architects, earning LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.