SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – An expert in the field of Indigenous art has been named as the executive director of New Mexico’s Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Pollyanna “Polly” Nordstrand, who is Hopi, will take on her new role in November. She will oversee a team of curators, anthropologists and archaeologists who are responsible for the preservation and interpretation of objects and works of art that represent Native people from the American Southwest and northern Mexico.
“It is an exciting time to step into this leadership position as MIAC envisions its place as a 21st-century museum with new exhibitions and expanded partnerships with tribal communities,” she said in a statement.
Nordstrand was selected following a national search.
Nordstrand comes from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas where she was that museum’s first curator of Native American Art. She also served as curator of Southwest art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Museum at Colorado College and associate curator of Native art at the Denver Art Museum.
In New Mexico, Nordstrand will manage an anthropology library and archives as well as the Center for New Mexico Archaeology, which is the state’s archaeological repository.
Nordstrand began working in the museum world around 1990 as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act came into effect. She said her approach to museums has been shaped by the increasing collaboration between tribes and institutions and she has advocated for more equity and inclusion in museums.
She co-founded the American Alliance of Museums’ Diversity Committee after leading the Native Americans and Museums Professional Interest Committee for years. She also maintains an ongoing relationship with the staff at the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office in Arizona to seek advice and advance their participation in museum projects.
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