Appointment of Dr. Bethany Montagano as Director of the USC Pacific Asia Museum

Message to USC Faculty and Staff

From: Michael W. Quick, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 28, 2019

On behalf of President Wanda Austin, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Bethany Montagano as Director of the USC Pacific Asia Museum, effective May 9, 2019.

Dr. Montagano joins us from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where she served as senior Curator. At the Skirball, she was responsible for overseeing changing exhibitions, forging strategic partnerships and introducing cutting-edge programs that raised the profile of the institution and expanded its outreach to the Los Angeles community. In addition, she spearheaded social justice and human rights exhibitions, including Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A., Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich and most recently SPOTLIGHT: Andy Warhol: Ten Jews of the Twentieth Century.

Previously, Dr. Montagano played a pivotal role in the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture where she participated in executing the museum’s inaugural exhibitions. In addition, she was instrumental in producing exhibitions and publications at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian where she advanced the knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere through partnerships with Native peoples. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Dr. Montagano’s experience includes positions at the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame and Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Dr. Montagano earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian Studies from DePauw University, and studied at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. She has a master’s degree in Museum Studies from Indiana University School of Liberal Arts and earned her doctorate in American History with emphasis on gender, race, and cultural representation from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Montagano has published and lectured widely on African American and Native American cultures.

This is an exciting time for the USC Pacific Asia Museum, the first U.S. university museum exclusively dedicated to the arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. We are sure that Dr. Montagano’s expertise in the museum field will energize the gallery’s exhibitions, programs, and cultural outreach.

I also want to acknowledge the excellent work of the search community, co-chaired by Selma Holo, executive director of USC Museums and Galleries, and Robin Romans, Associate Provost. The chairs and faculty members of the committee were instrumental in the success of the search. In addition, I wish to thank the numerous faculty, staff, deans, senior leadership, and community members who participated in interviews of the finalists and provided insightful feedback.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Montagano to our academic community.

Cc: Wanda Austin
Academic Senate
Academic Deans
President’s Cabinet
Provost’s Cabinet