Lesley Wellman Named 2012 National Museum Art Educator of the Year


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Lesley Wellman, Hood Foundation Curator of Education at the Hood Museum of Art, was selected by the National Art Education Association (NAEA) as the 2012 National Museum Art Educator of the Year. This award recognizes the exemplary contributions, service, and achievements of one outstanding NAEA member annually at the national level within their division.


Lesley Wellman, the Hood Foundation Curator of Education, has worked at the Hood Museum of Art since 1990. (photo courtesy Hood Museum of Art)

“I was delighted to learn that Lesley had been honored with this prestigious award,” said Michael Taylor, director of the Hood Museum of Art. “This recognition by her peers is richly deserved and reflects her high standing in the museum field, as well as her astonishing dedication and achievement as a museum educator.”

At the Hood Museum of Art since 1990, Wellman puts best practice first regarding audiences, interpretation, evaluation, and collaboration. An awareness of audience and multiple ways of accessing and learning from objects has long been the cornerstone of the museum’s teaching mission. Along with her education colleagues early in the 1990s, Wellman examined a number of alternatives before developing the Hood’s “Learning to Look” method for teaching audiences to interpret art, privileging strategies designed to engage the learner more deeply in object-related critical thinking, research, and interpretation.

Responding to news of the award, Wellman commented, “I feel deeply honored to receive this award, particularly because the nomination and evaluation of candidates is done by peers from art museums across the country. This recognition is very meaningful to me. The deepest honor, however, is to get to do work that I love on a daily basis. If I can help create opportunities for museum visitors to engage with and learn about art, and the world of ideas, experiences, and emotions it represents, and if I can help people understand the relevance and value of art in our lives, then I feel that I have provided something of value.”

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