Claire C. Whitner
Director of Curatorial Affairs and the James A. Welu Curator of European Art
Claire Whitner brings together WAM's curators and conservators to collaborate on new exhibitions and installations that address a central element of the Museum's mission: connecting visitors, communities, and cultures through experiences with art. Whitner takes a leading role in shaping the Museum's collecting efforts, working with the Director and curators to identify and secure gifts and purchases that address specific collection needs. She also oversees the Museum's ongoing work to reexamine installations in permanent collections galleries. She has expertise in German modernism and 17th-century Dutch painting and holds a PhD in Germanic languages from the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to coming to the Worcester Art Museum, she served as Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. She has also held curatorial and research positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Skirball Cultural Center, and the Getty Research Institute at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Term Chair in Conservation and Chief Conservator
Rita Albertson was appointed Chief Conservator at the Worcester Art Museum in 2004. Prior to that she served as Paintings Conservator at WAM and Assistant Paintings Conservator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She oversees a conservation team of specialists in objects, paintings, works on paper, and arms and armor. In addition, she performs conservation treatments on WAM paintings and advocates for conservation and preservation of the Museum's permanent collection. Albertson has also co-curated exhibitions at WAM, including The Mystery of Worcester's Leonardo (2018), The Last Judgment Tapestry (2016), and—with the late Philip Klausmeyer—Portraits by William Hogarth (2014 – 2015). She received her M.S. in paintings conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation in 1982.
Visit the Conservation page for information on the entire Conservation team and the work they do.
Nancy Kathryn Burns
Stoddard Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs
Nancy Kathryn Burns is the primary steward of the Worcester Art Museum's collection of pan-Atlantic prints, drawings, and photographs, representing over half of the Museum's permanent collection. Since her arrival in November 2008, she has served as the curator or co-curator for 16 exhibitions including Leisure, Pleasure, and the Debut of the Modern French Woman (2011), Winogrand's Women are Beautiful (2013), Cyanotypes: Photography's Blue Period (2016), Rediscovering an American Community of Color: Photographs of William Bullard (2017), Monet's Waterloo Bridge: Vision and Process (2019) and Photo Revolution: Andy Warhol to Cindy Sherman (2019). Burns has received various accolades for her work including a first place Award for Excellence for an Outstanding Exhibition from the Association of American Curators (2017). She is also the co-author of Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard, 1897-1917, winner of the 2018 Historic New England Book Prize. Burns received her MA at Brown University with a focus on European art after 1850.
Erin R. Corrales-Diaz
Assistant Curator of American Art
Erin Corrales-Diaz joined WAM in May 2018 as Assistant Curator of American Art, a position generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Before coming to Worcester, Corrales-Diaz held dual posts as Curator of the Johnson Collection and Visiting Scholar at Wofford and Converse Colleges in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Her curatorial projects at WAM have included overseeing a multi-year grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to conserve and display Edward Augustus Brackett's monumental marble sculpture group, Shipwrecked Mother and Child (1848-1851), and a project that examines luxury goods and consumption with WAM's colonial and federal decorative and fine arts. She is a specialist in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American art with a particular focus on art of the American Civil War and African American art. Corrales-Diaz received her doctorate from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Jeffrey L. Forgeng
The Higgins Curator of Arms & Armor and Medieval Art
Jeffrey Forgeng has curated the John Woodman Higgins Collection since 1999, first as the Paul S. Morgan Curator at the Higgins Armory Museum and, since 2014, as The Higgins Curator of Arms & Armor and Medieval Art at the Worcester Art Museum. His responsibilities at WAM entail integrating the Higgins collection of some 2,000 arms and armor objects throughout the Museum. This includes the reinstallation of the Medieval Galleries (2016), the addition of numerous armors in contextually related galleries (2017), and planning the permanent arms and armor gallery (estimated opening 2023). Forgeng is the author of over a dozen books, most recently The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship: Royal Armouries Manuscript I.33. Forgeng holds a PhD in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.
Assistant Curator of Asian and Middle Eastern Art
Rachel Parikh oversees a collection of nearly 9,000 objects that represent the richness and diversity of Asia and the Middle East through a wide range of materials. Parikh’s responsibilities include developing a vibrant exhibition program, building on the Museum’s holdings with new acquisitions. Prior to joining WAM in February 2020, Parikh was the Calderwood Curatorial Fellow of Asian Art at the Harvard Art Museums. She has also held curatorial positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Department of Arms and Armor and the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Asian Art. Parikh specializes in South Asian and Islamic paintings as well as arms and armor, and has published widely, including the 2020 book, The Khalili Falnamah: The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (London: The Nour Foundation). She received her PhD in the History of Art from the University of Cambridge in 2014.