Erin Coe, director of The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, N.Y., has been named director of the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State, effective September 11, following a national search. Patrick McGrady, Charles V. Hallman Curator at the Palmer, will continue to serve as interim director until Coe begins.
Coe has been director of The Hyde Collection since 2015, previously serving as chief curator from 1999 to 2014. As director, she has focused on improving the museum’s accessibility, community engagement, and visitor experience, including implementing renovations to the museum’s education wing, featuring an upgraded lobby, gallery spaces, and significant advancements in technology. In addition, Coe recently secured one of the largest gifts in the museum’s history, a major collection of postwar Modern art and a $1 million leadership gift that formed the basis of a campaign for an additional gallery and a new art storage addition. The new gallery dedicated to Modern and Contemporary art opened to the public on June 10, 2017.
“We are thrilled to welcome someone with Erin’s proven experience as an administrator, fundraiser, and curator to the Palmer,” said Barbara Korner, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture. “Her commitment to community engagement and the visitor experience will allow the museum to expand on the programming already offered, helping us to reach an even wider audience.”
During Coe’s fifteen-year tenure as chief curator of The Hyde Collection, she was responsible for the care, research, interpretation, and growth of the museum’s permanent collection of European and American art (from 2,800 to 4,000 objects), and its active exhibition program of ten shows a year. She oversaw the interior restoration of Hyde House, the museum’s historic building and former home of the founders Louis and Charlotte Hyde. Coe has curated more than forty exhibitions, authored more than a dozen publications, and juried several regional and national exhibitions.
“I am honored to join the Palmer Museum of Art and the vibrant academic community of Penn State,” said Coe. “I look forward to increasing the visibility of the Palmer by further expanding the museum’s collections, exhibitions, and ties with faculty and students through innovative programing and partnerships. With its experienced staff and exceptional collections, especially in American art, the Palmer Museum is poised to be a leader in the field and I look forward to being at the helm.”
Coe was the curator of the critically acclaimed exhibition Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George, organized by The Hyde Collection in association with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in 2013. The exhibition traveled to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, and then to the De Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She is the co-author of the exhibition catalogue, which was honored with an Award of Excellence by the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC).
Andy Schulz, associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Architecture, chaired the search committee for the Palmer director position. “It was a pleasure to serve as chair of this national search. We were able to assemble an outstanding committee that represented faculty, staff, students, and community supporters of the Palmer. We had a terrific pool of candidates and are pleased that Erin Coe emerged as the top choice for this strategic leadership position.”
Before joining The Hyde Collection, Coe held positions with the Shaker Museum and Library, the University Art Museum at the University at Albany (SUNY), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Coe serves on the board of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Forum for Executive Women of the Capital Region, and the advisory board of American Women Artists. She holds an M.A. from the University at Albany (SUNY), and has worked on her doctorate in the history of art and architecture at Boston University, where she is currently ABD, Ph.D.
The Palmer Museum of Art on the Penn State University Park campus is a free-admission arts resource for the University and surrounding communities in central Pennsylvania. With a collection of 8,300 objects representing a variety of cultures and spanning centuries of art, the Palmer is the largest art museum between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Areas of strength include its collection of American art from the late eighteenth to the present, Old Master paintings, photography, ceramics and studio glass, and a growing collection of contemporary art. The museum offers an ever-changing array of exhibitions and displays of its permanent collection. With eleven galleries, a print-study room, 150-seat auditorium, and outdoor sculpture garden, the Palmer Museum is a unique cultural resource for residents of and visitors to the region. Please note the museum is closed for renovations through September 4. For more information, visit palmermuseum.psu.edu.