Edmund Barry Gaither
Famous Director/Curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA)
Named as one of the 100 most important museum professionals of the 20th century during the 100th annual convention of the American Association of Museums (AAM), Edmund Barry Gaither has been Director and Curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA) since 1969, and Special Consultant at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA),Boston.
At the MFA, he has served as curator for eight exhibitions including Afro-American Artists: New York and Boston, a ground breaking show of l970.
For the NCAAA, he developed the Museum from a concept to an institution with collections exceeding three thousand objects and a thirty-two year history of exhibitions celebrating the visual arts heritage of black people worldwide.
Formerly, he developed a course on African American art which he taught as a lecturer at Harvard College (l972-75); Wellesley College, 1971-74; Massachusetts College of Art, 1970-71; and Spelman College, l968-69.
Additionally, he taught a special course for Afro-American Studies at Boston University, l971-83, and also served on the summer faculty of the Arts Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota, l989.
Within the museum field, he has been very active. He served on the Commission on Museums for a New Century (American Association of Museums, l984), Commission on Equity and Excellence (American Association of Museums, l986), and Museums and Communities, American Association of Museums, 2000.
Gaither was cofounder and first president of the African American Museums Association (now the Association for African American Museums).
In the field of education, he has published and lectured widely. Additionally, he was a consultant to Urban Ways: The Center of Arts Education, in Chicago; Department of Education, Art Institute of Chicago; as well as for Primary Source, a curriculum development organization based in Boston.
As a citizen, he served on President George W. Bush’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and on the Commission for the Roxbury State Heritage Park, Boston, MA.
He headed the national committee that commissioned the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., l985-86. From l980-83, he was Panel Chairman for the Expansion for the Expansion Arts Division of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Gaither has traveled widely. Among places where he has worked or conducted research are: Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (Museum Consultant); Paris, France (Symposium Presenter at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, 2000); Jamaica, West Indies, (Adjudicator for Independence Festival, Museum Consultant, independent research); Ethiopia (researcher); Israel (researcher); Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (researcher in art and museum education); Germany (studying models for museum education); Haiti (researcher); Senegal (Presented at Symposium in honor of President L.S. Senghor; delegate to planning conference for Black Arts Festival); Barbados, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic (researcher); Guyana (Presented: Celebrations for the 150th Anniversary of Emancipation in British Caribbean), and Mexico.
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