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Art, Society

Female Museum and Gallery Directors and How to Find Them

As part of my guest blog for Bitch Magazine online, which is now nearing its close, I decided that it would be topical (and cool) to develop a list of female directors who run museums or galleries. I had read quite a bit about the UK contingent, with the Whitechapel Gallery’s Iwona Blazwick running the MaxMara Prize for Women, but I didn’t know much about the rest of the world. It turns out that neither does Google. I spent a hell of a long time trying to compile a decent list, but realised I’d missed huge chunks when the very helpful Bitch readers started commenting to fill in the gaps.

This is the amended list so far. My plan is to add to it as I discover new directors. Obviously the ideal would be to not need a list, if there was a real balance of power between the genders in art directorship, but of course there isn’t. Like most other sectors of industry, the arts is grossly under-represented by women, and things need to change. In the mean time, check out some of the places recorded below, and see what a great contribution we can make to public art.


  • Rita McLean – Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (Birmingham)
  • Diane Lees – Imperial War Museum (London)
  • Kathleen Soriano – Royal Academy (London)
  • Julie Peyton-Jones – Serpentine Gallery (London)
  • Iwona Blazwick – Whitechapel Art Gallery (London)
  • Dr. Ellen McAdam – Glasgow Museums (Scotland)

United States:

  • Catherine M. Pears – Alexandria Museum of Art (Louisiana)
  • Ellen Futter – American Museum of Natural History (New York)
  • Sarah J. Bloomfield – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington D.C)
  • Olga Viso – Walker Art Center
  • Kaywin Feldman – Minneapolis Institute of Arts
  • Jill Medvedow – ICA Boston
  • Anne Hawley – Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  • Gail Andrews – Birmingham Museum of Art (Alabama)
  • Dorothy Kosinski – Phillips Collection
  • Lori Fogarty – Oakland Museum of California
  • Melissa Chiu – Asia Society Museum
  • Susan Taylor – New Orleans Museum of Art
  • Susan Talbott – Wadsworth Atheneum
  • Susan Strickler – Currier Museum (New Hampshire)
  • Roxana Velasquez – San Diego Museum of Arts
  • Madeleine Grynsztejn – Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago)
  • Thelma Golden – Studio Museum, Harlem
  • Danielle Rice – Delaware Museum of Art
  • Lyndel King – Weisman Art Museum
  • Anne D’Harnoncourt – Philadelphia Museum of Art (former director)


  • Elizabeth Ann MacGregor – Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney)
  • Betty Churcher – Art Gallery of Western Australia (1987-1990) and National Gallery of Australia (1990-1997)
  • Dawn Casey – National Museum of Australia (former director), Powerhouse Museum (Sydney)


  • Margot Schindler – Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art (Vienna)


  • Janet Carding – Royal Ontario Museum (Ontario)
  • Kathleen Bartels – Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver)
  • Nathalie Bondil – Montreal Museum of Fine Art (Montreal)
  • Paulette Gagnon – Museum of Contemporary Art (Montréal)
  • Line Ouellet – Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec
  • Francine Lelièvre – Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History
  • Phyllis Lambert – Canadian Centre for Architecture
  • Yolande Racine – Cinémathèque Québécoise (Quebec)
  • Suzanne Savage – Musée McCord
  • Gaëtane Verna – Musée d’art de Joliette


  • Snježana Pintarić – Museum of Contemporary Art (Zagreb)


  • Maria Anna Potocka – Museum of Contemporary Art (Krakow)


  • Ann Goldstein – Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam)


  • Irena Alexandrovna Antonova – Pushkin Museum of Fine Art (Moscow)


  • Alexandra Kusa – Slovak National Gallery (Bratislava)

With thanks to Zeke, Tnez, Jane and Anonymous for helping me add to the Australian, Canadian and US sections via comments on my original article.


About Polly

I'm a journalist, based near Brighton. This blog, which is separate from my professional life, will document my reaction to current affairs, as well as some personal projects.


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