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Portland Museum of Art's Dana Baldwin appointed Director of Learning and Interpretation
Baldwin is the 2011 National Museum Educator of the Year.

PORTLAND, ME.- The Portland Museum of Art announced that Dana Baldwin has been named Director of Learning and Interpretation. Baldwin is the 2011 National Museum Educator of the Year and has been the Museum’s Peggy L. Osher Director of Education since 1992. Baldwin’s new title and the creation of the Department of Learning and Interpretation is a new initiative toward museum education that focuses on creating more dynamic and engaging experiences in the Museum’s galleries.

“By creating a new Department of Learning and Interpretation, the Portland Museum of Art is leading a national trend in the education field that positions learning in a broader and more active way,” said Museum Director Mark Bessire. “Dana’s team will be developing more interactive and collaborative experiences in the galleries and will leverage connections with local artists.”

The new Department of Learning and Interpretation comes out of a six-month audit in 2011 of the Museum’s Education Department. As part of the Museum’s Strategic Plan, the Museum hired Margaret Burchenal, Curator of Education and Public Programs at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston to audit the Museum’s programming and staff structure. As a result, Burchenal’s report recommended that the department focus on increasing opportunities for family learning in the galleries, leveraging the vitality of local artists, and more interactive experiences for students on field trips. Programs and projects will focus on interactive experiences in Museum galleries, rather than scheduled programs in the Museum’s classroom and auditorium, and often use artists as interpreters during programs. The report also identified innovations in museum interpretation as a specialty of the Museum’s Education Department and as an opportunity for further national recognition.

Baldwin has been the Museum’s Peggy L. Osher Director of Education since 1992. In 2003, she was named the Eastern Division’s Outstanding Museum Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association, and in 2005 she was named Art Advocate of the Year by the Maine Art Education Association. In 2011, she was named the National Arts Educator of the Year by the National Arts Education Association. During Baldwin’s tenure at the Museum, she has led the effort to establish the Bernard A. Osher Lecture series as one of the major annual cultural events in Portland and to launch the annual Nelson Social Justice Fund Lecture as a keystone of the Museum’s programs. She has been Project Director of 11 National Endowment for the Arts projects at the Portland Museum of Art, including a project to digitize more than 250 wood engravings by Winslow Homer for the Museum’s website in 2009. Baldwin has increased collaborations with area social service agencies, interactive exhibitions imbedded in the Museum’s galleries, cell phone tours of special exhibitions, and a series of Regional Docent Symposia with attendance by volunteers from six states. In 2005 Baldwin was invited by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles to serve as a Guest Scholar of the Getty Research Institute where she studied philosophies of interpretation.

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