Anthony G. Hirschel

Anthony G. Hirschel

Lecturer in Law

Anthony Hirschel now is an independent consultant in the arts. Previously, he spent two years as the Director of Exhibitions at the Alphawood Foundation in Chicago and as a consultant for a variety of academic art museums. Earlier, he served as the Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago for more than a decade from 2005.

Trained as an historian of the art of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance first at the University of Michigan and Yale, he has been active in art museum administration for 31 years, 26 of them as a museum director. Much of that time has been spent in some of the nation’s most ambitious academic art museums, first at Yale (1987-91) and then as the director of the art museums at the University of Virginia (1991-97) and Emory University (1997-2001). He also taught at Yale, Randolph-Macon Women’s College and the University of Chicago Law School. Before coming to the Smart Museum of Art, Hirschel served as the Director and CEO (2001-2004) of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, one of the largest art museums in North America.


Yale University, Department of the History of Art, ABD

M.A. 1981, M. Phil, 1982 (awarded officially in 2016)

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan              

B.A. summa cum laude, 1979

Highest Honors in History; Highest Honors in History of Art


Independent Consultant in Arts Leadership, Strategy, and Management, 2015-

Current project: organize national (and possibly international) tour of multiple versions of Then They Came for Me, an original exhibition about Japanese American incarceration during World War II developed in 2016 by a curatorial team I led as Director of Exhibitions at the Alphawood Foundation, working closely with a range of community partners in Chicago. (See below.)

  • Tour is being organized with partners in California and New York.
  • Includes all aspects of tour development, contracts, logistics, fundraising, and partnerships with local communities, who will be invited in each case to participate in adding their own stories and materials to the exhibition.

Alphawood Foundation, Chicago

Director of Exhibitions, 2016-2017

Created an entirely new initiative within the charitable and public service portfolio of an established private Chicago foundation devoted to promoting a more equitable, just, and humane society with areas of focus including advocacy, architecture and preservation, the arts and arts education, LBGTQ and HIV/AIDS issues, and other human and civil rights.

Oversaw all aspects of the renovation of a 12,000 sq. ft. former bank headquarters space, converting it into a public museum-quality exhibition space. Opened new space with the presentation of Art AIDS America, a major museum exhibition. Followed this with Then They Came for Me, an original exhibition about Japanese American incarceration during World War II developed entirely by Alphawood with partners in Chicago. The exhibition, initiated largely in response to current national debates concerning immigration, achieved overwhelming critical success locally, moving on to New York; an extended national tour is being developed.

Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Dana Feitler Director, 2005-2015

Lead one of the most prominent and active university art museums in the United States with an annual budget of approx. $3.2 million.  The Smart Museum serves not only as a dynamic contributor to the life of one of the nation’s premier research universities but also as a vital public resource for Chicago and the region.  Responsible for direction of nationally recognized exhibition and educational programs as well as all acquisitions, policy, fundraising and personnel matters.  Serve as the primary liaison to the University and chief public representative of the Museum. 

Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana

Director and CEO, 2001-2004

Responsible for all aspects of the Museum’s operation, including collections, exhibitions, conservation, fundraising, personnel, marketing and public relations, and overall administration. The IMA, with a $16 million budget and over 260 employees, is engaged in a multi-year, $220 million campaign for the New IMA the results of which includes the expansion and enhancement of its facilities, the reopening, after extensive renovations, of the historic Oldfields estate on its over 50 acres of beautifully tended grounds, and the development of the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park on a further 100 acres of adjacent riverfront property.  Major accomplishments include important acquisitions in many areas, exhibitions traveling nationally and internationally, significant progress in management and planning, development, education, technology, and civic engagement, as well as successful supervision of ambitious building project and three successive balanced budgets.

Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Director, 1997-2001

The Carlos Museum holds collections of ancient Egyptian, Near Eastern, and Greek and Roman art, the Art of the Ancient Americas, and African and Asian art, as well as works on paper from the Renaissance to the present.  During tenure, the Carlos Museum acquired the most important collection of ancient Egyptian funerary art to come on the market in the last half century and reinstalled its Egyptian galleries in collaboration with architect Michael Graves. The Museum was also able to expand greatly its collections of ancient Greek and south Asian antiquities.  A wide variety of new programs and initiatives were developed in conjunction with administration, faculty and students with the goal of more fully integrating the museum’s activities in the life of the University.  Served actively on numerous university and civic committees, boards, and organizations.

Bayly (now Fralin) Art Museum of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Director, 1991-1997

Directed university art museum that also served as the public art museum for central Virginia.  Responsible for all aspects of museum’s operation.  Organized major exhibitions as well as numerous symposia, lecture series and workshops.  Added key acquisitions to the collection.  Established the first professional development office within the Museum.  Expanded significantly the role of the Museum in the life of the University in consultation with faculty, administrators and student groups.  Served on numerous University committees and advisory boards as well as civic organizations.

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Assistant Director, 1991

Coordinated major fundraising campaign and other development efforts, guided reorganization of Education Department, as well as all duties below.  Supervised additional staff members.

Yale University Art Gallery

Assistant to the Director, 1987-1991

Assisted Director in all aspects of museum’s function.  Responsible for the coordination of major exhibitions, including their organization, preparation, installation, labeling, programming, and public relations.  Significant grant-writing responsibilities.  Extensive involvement with University administration and Art Gallery’s Governing Board as well as faculty members and students, including interns.

Yale University Art Gallery

Editor/Researcher, 1984-1987

Edited and coordinated compilation of the Handbook of the Collections.