Nelson-Atkins Director of Curatorial Affairs Antonia Boström headed to London’s V&A Museum

Dr. Antonia Boström, who will leave the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in January to join the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Image courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Dr. Antonia Boström, who will leave the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in January to join the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Image courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Antonia Boström has accepted the position of Keeper of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, which represents a return to the museum at which she began her career. Boström has been Director, Curatorial Affairs at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art since May 2013.

“Dr. Boström brought a depth of scholarship and invaluable skills to the Nelson-Atkins, as well as a wealth of experience across continents,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, the Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “While we are sad to see her leave, we look forward to partnering on various exhibitions and mutually beneficial projects with the V&A.”

Boström succeeds Dr. Paul Williamson, a world-renowned scholar of medieval art who has been with the V&A for 37 years. The Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass (SMCG) cares for over 110,000 objects reflecting European history and design. The sculpture collection is designated the National Collection of Sculpture, and concentrates on Western European Sculpture from the 4th century to the end of the 19th. The glass collection is the most comprehensive in Europe and includes stained and painted glass, painted enamels on copper, plastics and contemporary glass. The V&A is particularly rich in Ceramics from Asia, the Middle East and Europe, is the repository of the National Collection of English Silver, and has the world’s most comprehensive collection of European decorative metalwork from 500AD to the present day. This department also has responsibility for the two Cast Courts.

“This opportunity has arisen at very short notice, and represents a chance to work with collections that are particularly meaningful for me,” said Boström. “Over the past two years, I have learned so much from my colleagues here about the workings of a successful museum, and I am convinced the Nelson-Atkins is headed for yet more success with the exciting exhibitions coming up and the Bloch Collection installation.”

While at the Nelson-Atkins, Boström reorganized the curatorial, conservation and registrar’s departments, including consolidating the departments of Ancient Art, European Painting & Sculpture, and Architecture, Design and Decorative Arts into the Department of European Arts. She made key appointments, including appointing the Curator of the American Department, the Head Registrar, and the Conservator and Manager of the Mellon Conservation Science Endowment in the Paintings Conservation department. In addition to the Curatorial division, Boström directly oversaw the Conservation and Registration departments. As staff liaison for the Committee on Collections and the Exhibition Committee, she has been closely involved in reviewing their roles and policies. She created a Publication Task Force to review and update the museum’s publication policies, and was contributor to and project manager for the publication, A Labyrinth for the Park: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park that accompanied the inauguration of Robert Morris’s Glass Labyrinth in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park in 2014.

Born and raised in London, and the daughter of a paintings conservator, she received her B.A. (1979) in the History of Art from Courtauld Institute of Art, London University, and later obtained her PhD in 1996 from the same institution. She worked in London as museum assistant at the National Portrait Gallery (1980), in the National Art Library and as an assistant curator in the Sculpture Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1980-1985), as a commissioning editor at the Grove Dictionary of Art for Macmillan Publishers (1985-1988), and as acting curator of the Permanent Collection of Paintings and Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts (1995-96).

Fluent in five languages, Boström worked at the Detroit Institute of Arts from 1998-2004 as Associate Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Her team was responsible for the reinstallation of the Graeco-Roman and European Early Modern collections. She was also a research scholar and co-author of the Catalogue of Italian Sculpture at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which was published in 2003, and she was an adjunct professor at Wayne State University.

In 2004, Boström was the Senior Curator and Department Head, Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Boström led the installation of the Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden and Terrace in collaboration with Richard Meier Architects & Olin Partnership, plus the reinstallation of several Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries.

Boström begins her new position at the V&A in January, 2016.