Rebecca McNamara, Tang Associate Curator and scholar of 19th century through contemporary American art and material culture, joined the museum in November 2016 as the Mellon Collections Curator, a three-year position funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to promote access to and inclusion in and with the Tang’s collection. In that position, she collaborated with dozens of artists, faculty, visiting scholars, and students to bring new perspectives to the museum collection through exhibitions, programming, scholarship, dialogues, artistic responses, and more.
She is coeditor with Dayton Director Ian Berry of the award-winning three-time annual publication Accelerate: Access and Inclusion at The Tang Teaching Museum (2017–2019), author of Widows Unveiled: Fashionable Mourning in Late Victorian New York (Cooper Hewitt/Parsons, 2016), and coauthor of A Token of Elegance: Cigarette Holders in Vogue (Officina Libraria, 2015). Rebecca’s exhibitions at the Tang include Other Side: Art, Object, Self (2017), Give a damn. (2018), Beauty and Bite (2019), among other projects. She has held curatorial positions at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where she co-curated Crazy Quilts: Stitching Memories (2017), and at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She holds a BA in art history and BS in journalism from Boston University and an MA in the history of decorative arts and design from Parsons/Cooper Hewitt.