After Julie Bernson, former Curator of Education at the Addison Gallery of American Art, left her position, Rebecca Hayes has returned to the Addison after 16 years, stepping in as Interim Curator of Education.
Bernson left her position at the Addison on March 2 to become the Director for Engagement and Learning at the DeCordova Museum located in Lincoln, MA.
As Interim Curator of Education, Hayes is responsible for organizing educational programs that the Addison provides for the greater Andover community.
“[I am constantly] thinking about the big picture and thinking about exhibitions and about interpretation, the way exhibitions are represented,” said Hayes. “[My job is] more of a strategic sort of role, a mentor role and coming up with ideas. We would like as many people to think of the museum as a resource and to make sure that our existing partnerships thrive.”
Hayes said that her role at the Addison will require her to think strategically about expanding the programming and publicity of the education programming, in order to reach out to as many facets of the community as possible.
“The museum was founded… to be open to all people, not just the Phillips Academy community, but students, adults and children from all over,” she said.
Hayes said that her position is concerned with the question, “How effectively can [the Addison] be making a difference in teachers’ and students’ lives in an in-depth way, in terms of creating long term collaborations and partnerships [throughout which] schools will use the museum multiple times during a year?”
Hayes will work primarily in the Museum Learning Center (MLC), where she uses materials from the Addison’s permanent collections to introduce visitors to the gallery.
Seventeen years ago, Hayes’s first job out of college was at the Addison, where she conducted most of the museum’s outreach programs and teaching as the Education Outreach Coordinator at the Addison.
When Hayes first began working at the Addison, she worked mostly with teachers in the Andover and Lawrence areas.
The MLC did not exist at that time, so the Addison was not able to provide as much collaborative teaching, according to Hayes.
However, with the expansion of the museum and the development of the MLC, her work now extends to towns and cities within a sixty-mile radius of the Academy.
After her first year working at the Addison, Hayes left to pursue work at the Museum of Modern Art, the American Folk Art Museum, and the Williams College Museum of Art.
Hayes found her way back to Andover and the Addison on March 5 to take over as Interim Curator of Education, after completing a graduate program at Boston College in December 2011.
“The Addison always made a lasting impact on me because of its main goal, which is sharing its resources with as many audiences as possible. It’s a true teaching museum in the sense that it’s all about teaching,” she said.
Since Hayes worked at the Addison Gallery 16 years ago, the museum staff, particularly the educational staff, has grown tremendously, according to Hayes.
Hayes is adjusting to her new position and enjoying reconnecting with the museum, as well as with teachers and schools in the surrounding areas.
She is currently working on a new set of exhibitions opening at the Addison on April 28.