Horace Ballard, a former educator at the Rhode Island School of Design, is the new curator of education at the Birmingham Museum of Art. A PhD candidate at Brown University, he recently completed a dissertation on 19th century American photography, titled Man-made: Photography and the Re-construction of Beauty in America, 1850-1900, which uses images by Alexander Gardner, Thomas Eakins, William Bell, and Fred Holland Day to argue that masculinity was culturally “re-constructed” by photography after the Civil War.
Though Ballard is trained as a collections curator, he explains his interest in museum education in an introductory interview posted on the museum’s website: “Works of art ask questions, and I want to be there when an audience answers those questions and then, in turn, asks new questions about artistic process, material, and display.”
He says, “Museum education is an ever-debated, ever-misunderstood, ever-changing field with historic ties to political movements, the history of philosophical inquiry, and contemporary notions of socioeconomic justice.”
He holds an A.M. in American Civilization and Public Humanities from Brown, an M.A. in Religion from Yale Divinity School, and double B.A.s in American Studies and English Literature from the University of Virginia. Prior to RISD, he worked in such institutions as the Yale University Art Museum and the Haffrenreffer Museum of Anthropology.