Art history professor Bonna Wescoat named interim director of Michael C. Carlos Museum

March 30, 2021

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Bonna D. Wescoat, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Art History and current interim chair of the Art History Department, will become interim director of the Carlos Museum this summer, following the retirement of director Bonnie Speed.

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Bonna D. Wescoat, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Art History and current interim chair of the Art History Department, will become interim director of the Michael C. Carlos Museum this summer, following the retirement of director Bonnie Speed.

Speed has served as director of the Carlos Musem for 19 years. Early in her tenure, she escorted the mummy thought to be Ramesses I back to Egypt. In recent years, she secured the museum’s position as a center for the study of ancient Egyptian art when she accepted the gift of the Senusret Collection in 2018. Speed leaves Emory having also worked with faculty, staff and donors to build the museum's collection of Asian art, in order to better serve research and teaching in multiple academic programs and departments at Emory.

“The Office of the Provost identified Bonna Wescoat as the ideal candidate for interim director based on her expertise in ancient Greek art and her long history and distinguished history with the museum. Bonna will provide exemplary leadership during this time of transition,” says Interim Provost Jan Love.

Wescoat is a valued and long-time colleague and collaborator of the Carlos Museum, serving as faculty curator of Greek and Roman art before the museum hired a full-time curator in 1998. In addition to her work on campus, Wescoat, who specializes in sacred architecture and sacred space in ancient Greece, serves as director of excavations and field research in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, Samothrace. Wescoat began work on Samothrace in the late 1970s and in 2012 was named director of excavations. 

Wescoat is a veteran participant in and generous supporter of the museum’s educational programs, sharing her work publicly with the museum’s patrons. From April 15-16, she’ll partner with the Carlos Museum on the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)-sponsored webinar symposium, “From the Vantage of the Victory: The Sanctuary of the Great Gods and the Island of Samothrace,” rescheduled from 2020.

Winged Victory,” known by the Greeks as Nike and by contemporary viewers as the headless statue standing atop a staircase at the Louvre, in its ancient environment at Samothrace. It is based on research Wescoat’s Emory team undertook with a team of collaborators from the Louvre beginning in 2013.

Wescoat is the recipient of many fellowships and grants. In addition to the NEH, her work has also been recognized by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Getty Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and most recently the Loeb Classical Library Foundation and the MacDonald Iliad Endowment for Archaeological Research, Archaeological Institute of America.

She received her D.Phil. and M.Phil.  in classical art and archaeology from Oxford University, an MA degree from the University of London’s Institute of Archaeology, and a BA in the history of art from Smith College.