Potter-Ndiaye comes to the Mead from the Brooklyn Historical Society, where she has been director of education since August 2013, and where she launched a number of notable and nationally recognized programs. In addition to her own work at the Mead, she will supervise the museum’s education team, including the assistant museum educator, coordinator of public programs and marketing, and the study room manager; and also oversee the Mead’s student employees, interns and volunteers.
“I am thrilled to join the Mead and Amherst campus, to engage students, faculty and the region’s communities as interpreters of the resonant art and artifact collections, and contributors to our evolving narratives,” said Potter-Ndiaye, who is also on the board of the Museum Education Roundtable, which produces the peer-reviewed Journal of Museum Education. “It is an exciting time to shape innovative programming at the Mead with the dedicated team there. I look forward to continuing the work to make the Mead a springboard for cross-disciplinary learning and scholarship, as well as socially-engaged dialogue.”
In her role at the Brooklyn Historical Society, Potter-Ndiaye grew the organization’s programs across three sites — the Brooklyn Historical Society's flagship building, a satellite space in DUMBO and at the Brooklyn Navy Yard — to serve more than 15,000 students and teachers annually through free school programs, teacher workshops, family programs and mentorship programs for teens. One such program, Teen Innovators, won a National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award in 2017. Potter-Ndiaye had previously worked as manager of teaching and learning and education coordinator during nearly 10 years at the Brooklyn Historical Society. She has also been a museum educator at the New-York Historical Society and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Potter-Ndiaye has a master’s degree in museum studies from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in history and African studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.
“We are so happy to have Emily Potter-Ndiaye join the talented staff at the Mead,” said David E. Little, director and chief curator of the Mead, who chaired the search committee. “Emily brings to the position a new vision of education that emphasizes collaboration, scholarly rigor, a passion to connect with students of all backgrounds, and to connect students with artists as part of the Mead’s recent emphasis on experiential learning.”
Established with funds bequeathed by William Rutherford Mead (Class of 1867), a partner in the storied architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White, the Mead Art Museum holds the 19,000-object art collection of Amherst College, representing a wide range of historical periods, national schools, and artistic media. The Mead’s collection includes American and European paintings, the Thomas P. Whitney, Class of 1937, Collection of Russian Art, Mexican ceramics, Tibetan scroll paintings, an English paneled room, ancient Assyrian carvings, West African sculpture, Korean ceramics, and Japanese prints, along with fine holdings of American furniture and silver.