CCL Creates New Program in Museum Practice for Graduate Students

Funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Enables CCL to Train a New Generation

New York, October 24, 2013 – The Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL) announced today that it will create a pilot program to introduce Ph.D. students in art history to museum practices and object-based learning. Funded with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar in Curatorial Practicewill be inaugurated in June 2014 with the collaboration of a range of museums in and around New York City. 

Elizabeth Easton, Co-Founder and Director of the CCL, stated: “Although many scholars in art history ultimately become curators, their academic preparation often provides little if any exposure to the professional life of museums. Our goal is to bridge the gap by introducing graduate students to the foundations of curatorial practice and the inner workings of museums.” 

The new program will expand the arc of training that the CCL has been providing for curatorial professionals since 2008. The CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar will offer 10 to 15 doctoral students an unprecedented opportunity to observe, analyze, and participate in the activities at the core of the art museum’s mission and to be mentored by senior curators. Students will also be introduced to fundamental business principles, increasing their understanding of organizational models and managerial leadership. This access to the real world of museum practice and strategic thinking will help strengthen the graduate students in their academic careers while making possible a new kind of cohort, which will provide opportunities for collaboration and exchange among scholars and curators around the country. In thinking about the ultimate impact a program like this might have, Agnes Gund, Co-Founder and Chair of the CCL noted: “Strengthening the arts and arts institutions requires strong leaders and advocates, an increasingly important need in this country.” 

Co-founded in 2008 by Elizabeth Easton and Agnes Gund, the CCL is dedicated to expanding the leadership capacity of curators to meet the challenges of the 21st century museum. The program boasts 62 graduates to date from a diverse roster of institutions across North America and Europe. More than 65 percent of CCL graduates have advanced to positions with greater leadership responsibility, including twelve who are now museum directors. Applications for the CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar in Curatorial Practice will be available in 
February 2014. For more information please visit


Hannah Howe
Center for Curatorial Leadership


Press Release - CCL/Mellon Seminar (download)