Chelsea Herr appointed new curator of Indigenous art and culture

Gilcrease Museum has appointed Chelsea Herr as the Jack and Maxine Zarrow Curator of Indigenous Art and Culture as Gilcrease embarks on the biggest transformation in its 70-year history. As a result of the upcoming new museum project, Gilcrease is fundamentally changing how it tells the museum’s stories and displays the collection. This new addition to the Gilcrease curatorial team provides a unique opportunity for the museum and its audiences to gain an even deeper appreciation for its Indigenous collections.

“Dr. Herr brings a unique skill set to Gilcrease at an exciting period in the museum’s history,” said Susan Neal, executive director of Gilcrease Museum. “Her expertise in Native art, history and culture well positions her to work with our collection representing hundreds of Indigenous cultures from across North and South America, with material culture and archaeology ranging from 200 BCE to the 21st century. Dr. Herr adds a critically important voice to our team as we move forward in designing the new Gilcrease, its architecture and exhibitions.”

Herr earned a doctorate in Native American Art History at the University of Oklahoma. She was hired in December and is joining Gilcrease this month after successfully defending her dissertation Future Tense: Possibilities, Portents, and Permutations in Native North American Art.

“I am thrilled to join the team at Gilcrease for a number of reasons, including the historically and culturally significant Indigenous collections at the museum,” she said. “I especially look forward to the exciting direction in which Gilcrease is moving, allowing for a more robust examination of these collections and the stories they tell within the museum’s larger narrative.”

Herr also worked as a researcher for the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City and worked extensively with the Couse-Sharp Historic Site in Taos, New Mexico on collections management and curatorial projects.

With this new addition to the curatorial team, Gilcrease has a great opportunity to re-examine its approach and better serve the community. Through Herr’s extensive knowledge of Indigenous art and culture, Gilcrease has increased opportunities for new scholarships and exhibitions to reach diverse audiences with an expanded narrative.

Neal will introduce Herr to the public in a conversational Facebook Live event on the Gilcrease Museum Facebook page on Friday, June 5 at noon.