Margaret K. Hofer Named VP and Museum Director at the New-York Historical Society
New York, NY, July 20, 2015—Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, today announced the appointment of curator Margaret K. Hofer to the role of Vice President and Director of its Museum division. Ms. Hofer has contributed to or overseen New-York Historical’s decorative arts collections and exhibitions for over two decades, and spearheaded the groundbreaking 2007 exhibition and publication A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, which revealed previously unrecognized achievements of Tiffany Studios’ women designers.
“New York’s first museum has been fortunate to have had Margaret K. Hofer as a leading decorative arts historian and curator. Her commitment and proven track record have led the New-York Historical Society’s Board of Trustees and me to elevate Margi to the helm of our museum division,” said Dr. Mirrer. “She has been an exceptional partner in developing a new Tiffany gallery and other permanent collection reinstallations, which will star alongside a new women’s history center when our Henry Luce III Center reopens in early 2017.”
Ms. Hofer stated, “It has been an adventure working with one of finest holdings of decorative arts and historical artifacts in the United States, including a stellar collection of early American silver and the largest collection of Tiffany lamps in the world, not to mention a superb staff, president, and board. I look forward to collaborating with this team to guide our exhibitions program, invigorate our collecting, and create initiatives that bring our collections to broader audiences.”
Pam Schafler, Chair of the Board of Trustees, added: “Margi and I share the experience of first becoming acquainted with the New-York Historical Society through scholarly research. Each of us has been a witness to this institution's rebirth—not only as a respected center for research and learning, but as a first-rate destination for the museum-going public. Her superb record of publication, contagious enthusiasm for our collections, and thoughtful leadership exemplify every project she has undertaken.”
Since joining the New-York Historical Society in 1993, Ms. Hofer has organized more than 15 exhibitions. Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman, an upcoming traveling exhibition co-curated with Roberta J.M. Olson, will open in September at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History in New Mexico before its marquee presentation at the New-York Historical Society (May 20, 2016 - August 21, 2016).
Ms. Hofer is the author of five exhibition catalogues: Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman (2015, with Roberta J.M. Olson); Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York (2011); A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls (2007, with Martin Eidelberg and Nina Gray); The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board and Table Games (2003); and Seat of Empire (2002, also with Dr. Olson). She has contributed to numerous journals and magazines— including The Magazine Antiques and Antiques & Fine Art—and regularly lectures at conferences and museums across the country.
Ms. Hofer received her B.A. from Yale University and M.A. from the University of Delaware's Winterthur Program in Early American Culture. She has previously worked at the International Center of Photography, taught courses at New York University, and consulted for other cultural institutions in the region.
The New-York Historical Society Museum holds one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States through the lens of New York. Among them are a world class collection of American paintings, including major works by Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, and Frederic Edwin Church; iconic genre and history paintings including works by William Sidney Mount and Eastman Johnson; a vast range of American portraits, including paintings by Rembrandt Peale and Gilbert Stuart; and all 435 of John James Audubon’s extant preparatory watercolors for Birds of America. New-York Historical also holds an encyclopedic collection of more than 800 sculptures, including iconic portrait busts by Jean-Antoine Houdon and Malvina Hoffman; the largest collection of John Rogers’ master bronze and plaster narrative groups; and models for the Lincoln Memorial by Daniel Chester French.
Decorative arts holdings at the New-York Historical Society include the world’s largest collection of Tiffany lamps, the Jerni Collection of antique toys and trains, the pioneering folk art collection assembled by Elie and Viola Nadelman, and one of the most comprehensive collections of early New York silver. New-York Historical’s unmatched holdings of artifacts bear witness to New York and American history from the colonial era through the present, and include the only surviving portrait of Peter Stuyvesant painted from life; George Washington’s cot from Valley Forge and the chair used during his presidential inauguration; one of the widest collections of material relating to slavery and early African American life; painted depictions and other objects from the Civil War, including the only draft wheel to survive the New York Draft Riots; Gilded Age portraits and objects, including portrait miniatures commissioned for Peter Marié’s Beauties of New York; American political and advertising ephemera from the 19th and 20th centuries; and materials from the September 11 attacks and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center.
About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research, presenting history and art exhibitions, and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical is the oldest museum in New York City. New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural, and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.