Martha Tedeschi, the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums, announced today the appointment of Micha Winkler Thomas as the museums’ new deputy director. Winkler Thomas will serve in a senior leadership position, working alongside the director, and will oversee several of the museums’ administrative divisions. A proven leader in the museum, government, non-profit, and cultural sectors, Winkler Thomas brings to the museums her extensive experience in executive leadership, strategic vision, innovation with analysis, operational efficiency, and excellent customer service. For more than 20 years, Winkler Thomas has managed a diverse range of high-profile projects, teams, and technology. She begins her new role at Harvard on September 18, 2023.
Winkler Thomas is currently the deputy director for strategy and chief operating officer at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., where she has worked since 2019. In this position, she has honed her skills in executive leadership, directing the museum’s strategic, operational, and digital planning initiatives, such as the museum’s five-year strategic and operations plan and the celebration of the museum’s 100th anniversary in 2021. She has played a key part in developing museum initiatives around diversity, partnerships, outreach to new audiences, digital opportunities, and data collection and analysis, as well as overseeing the daily operations of the museum, including such areas as information technology, facilities, security, admissions, the shop, and the cafe. In all aspects of her position at The Phillips Collection, she is recognized for her creative thinking and innovative ideas for new business models.
“Micha brings a wealth of museum experience and a deep commitment to the successful implementation and execution of strategic planning,” said Tedeschi. “At a time when we have just finished writing our own five-year strategic plan and received re-accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Micha is uniquely qualified to help us take the next steps toward the realization of our institutional goals. At the same time, I am thrilled to welcome such a seasoned museum veteran to our team at an exciting time in our audience expansion and development, following the implementation of our new policy of free admission for all visitors, which began on June 23. I look forward to her fresh ideas and perspectives as we navigate this new chapter in our museums’ long history.”
“I am delighted and gratified to join the staff of the Harvard Art Museums as deputy director, because it combines my passion for art history with my skills in directing and leading an operation that focuses on a visitor’s educational and cultural experience,” said Winkler Thomas. “I am inspired by the museums’ mission and the Harvard Art Museums’ unique role in the Greater Boston area, serving as an invaluable resource for both the campus and the community. The museums’ collections are astounding, and the power of those collections to promote critical looking and thinking is what drew me to this position. I am looking forward to embracing the challenges and opportunities presented in this exciting new role in such a vibrant cultural area.”
Throughout her career leading institutions, Winkler Thomas has gained expertise in education, tourism, hospitality, cultural experiences, non-profit and corporate partnerships, VIP events, customer service, as well as management, program, and data analysis. Winkler Thomas previously worked at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC), Architect of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C., first as reservations manager and systems and support manager, then as management and program analyst in the Division of Planning, Operations and Evaluation. There she led the development and execution of the Capitol Visitor Center’s five-year strategic and operations plan that influenced and guided the CVC’s mission, vision, and strategic goals. She also spearheaded the CVC’s data analysis, evaluation, and interpretation project and became a recognized leader in the field of data analytics and best practices. She oversaw, managed, and analyzed all aspects of key systems and support programs within the CVC and served as the liaison between the CVC and members of Congress and their staff.
Before her work at the Capitol Visitor Center, Winkler Thomas served in succeeding supervisory and management roles in sales and customer service at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Winkler Thomas began her career in museum work at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she worked in the Office of the Registrar and the Department of Teacher and School Programs.
Winkler Thomas received a M.A. in American art history at American University in Washington, D.C., and an arts administration certification from New York University. She received a B.A. in art history from Pennsylvania State University.
About the Harvard Art Museums
The Harvard Art Museums house one of the largest and most renowned art collections in the United States, comprising three museums (the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler Museums) and three research centers (the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, the Harvard Art Museums Archives, and the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis). The Fogg Museum includes Western art from the Middle Ages to the present; the Busch-Reisinger Museum, unique among North American museums, is dedicated to the study of all modes and periods of art from central and northern Europe, with an emphasis on German-speaking countries; and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum is focused on art from Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. Together, the collections include over 255,000 objects in all media. The Harvard Art Museums are distinguished by the range and depth of their collections, their groundbreaking exhibitions, and the original research of their staff. Integral to Harvard University and the wider community, the museums and research centers serve as resources for students, scholars, and the public. For more than a century they have been the nation’s premier training ground for museum professionals and are renowned for their seminal role in developing the discipline of art history in the United States. The Harvard Art Museums have a rich tradition of considering the history of objects as an integral part of the teaching and study of art history, focusing on conservation and preservation concerns as well as technical studies. harvardartmuseums.org
The Harvard Art Museums receive support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Hours and Admission
Open Tuesday–Sunday, 10am–5pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free to all visitors. For further information about visiting, including general policies, see harvardartmuseums.org/visit.
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