Monthly Archives: January 2020

Dr. Anna Swinbourne Appointed Executive Director & CEO of Hill-Stead Museum

The Trustees and Board of Governors of Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, are proud to announce that Dr. Anna Swinbourne has accepted appointment as Executive Director & CEO of Hill-Stead Museum and will assume the role’s full responsibilities in February 2020. Dr. Swinbourne has been the museum’s acting Interim Executive Director since August 2019.

“Hill-Stead Museum has made steady progress over the past few years in becoming an even more enriching, dynamic and sustainable institution, and Dr. Swinbourne is eager and excited to help us write the newest chapter of its storied existence,” says Hill-Stead Museum Board President Mark Shaw.

As Hill-Stead closes in on 75 years as the embodiment of founder Theodate Pope’s extraordinary vision, the site is embarking on a transformative journey that will see it become a world-renown, multi-disciplinary beacon to many more generations of inspired visitors. To lead the museum through this critical phase of activity, Hill-Stead has secured a leader with industry connections, a broad social network and top-notch intellectual acumen; who also can operate at the highest level of integrity with unflagging enthusiasm for the institution’s evolving mission.

Dr. Swinbourne joined Hill-Stead Museum in a lifetime appointment as museum trustee in 2018. She is currently a visiting assistant professor of art history at Trinity College. She recently served as event co-chair, alongside luminaries Agnes Gund and Oprah Winfrey, for Sotheby’s By Women, For Tomorrow’s Women: the first-ever all-women benefit auction at a major auction house. Proceeds from the auction exceeded $3M for financial aid at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington.

From 1999-2009, Dr. Swinbourne was on the painting and sculpture curatorial staff at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. In 2011, for her service to the Kingdom of Belgium, she was decorated by King Albert II and became a Knight of the Order of the Crown.

“Dr. Swinbourne is a highly regarded and active member of both the local Farmington Valley community and global art/museum industry,” adds Nina Mayhall Hayes, longtime Colonial Dames Trustee of Hill-Stead Museum and Farmington resident. “Our mandate as trustees is to preserve the future of Hill-Stead by installing leadership that will enable the institution to thrive. We are so fortunate to have found a champion for the institution who, much in the same vein as its visionary founder, Theodate Pope Riddle, will strive to keep the museum’s world-class collections and grounds accessible and to ensure the future of the organization remains bright.”

James Fanelli, Managing Director at The Private Bank at Bank of America, and Bank Trustee, Secretary and Treasurer of Hill-Stead Museum seconded Hayes’ enthusiasm and support for the museum’s new captain. “Dr. Swinbourne exhibits a depth of industry knowledge that is breath-taking and impressive,” Fanelli says. “With her unmatched experience and prestigious reputation as an award-winning professional in the art world, she will ensure Hill-Stead remains on the ascent; she is a worthy rival and colleague on par, and eager to collaborate, with the other fine leaders of Connecticut’s most distinguished cultural organizations.”


Anna Swinbourne, Ph.D., is an independent art historian, curator and art advisor engaged in a variety of scholarly and art-market endeavors. She is currently interim executive director and CEO of Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Conn., and visiting assistant professor of art history at Trinity College.

Most recently, Dr. Swinbourne served as event co-chair, alongside luminaries Agnes Gund and Oprah Winfrey, for Sotheby’s By Women, For Tomorrow’s Women: the first-ever all-women artist auction at a major auction house. Proceeds from the auction exceeded $3M and benefitted financial aid at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington in commemoration of the school’s 175th anniversary.

Her current and recent projects include a collection catalogue for the late David Rockefeller; an exhibition on Paul Cézanne landscapes for Princeton University Art Museum and the Royal Academy of London, opening in 2020.

From 1999 to 2009, Dr. Swinbourne was on the curatorial staff at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where she curated – either independently, or with Chief Curators, Kirk Varnedoe and John Elderfield – major exhibitions on the work of Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Édouard Manet, and James Ensor. The last two exhibitions were awarded First Prize for Best Historical Show of the year by the International Art Critics Association (AICA).

In 2011, for her service to the Kingdom of Belgium, she was decorated by King Albert II and became a Knight of the Order of the Crown.

Prior to joining MoMA, Anna was an assistant vice president in the Impressionist and Modern Art Department of Sotheby’s, New York. She was trained at the École du Louvre in Paris, Tufts University (B.A.), and the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University (M.A.; Ph.D.). She is a trustee of Hill-Stead Museum and member of the Art Advisory Committee of the King Baudouin Foundation United States.

Free School Programs at Hill-Stead Museum

“We’re Pulling for You” grant from SBM Charitable Foundation offers field trips and outreach for East Hartford, Manchester, and Vernon/Rockville students 

 Hill-Stead Museum is pleased to announce that SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc. had awarded Hill-Stead a “We’re Pulling for You” grant in the amount of $33,125 in support of its “Art, Poetry and History at Hill-Stead Museum” program offered to East Hartford, Manchester, and Vernon/Rockville students. This program, in partnership with the SBM Charitable Foundation, has provided valuable Fine Arts, Language Arts, and World Languages themed educational programs for thousands of underserved students since 2006.

“We are delighted to be able to continue this important and valuable program,” said Dr. Anna Swinbourne, Interim Executive Director & CEO of Hill-Stead Museum. “Working together as partners, the schools’ educators and Hill-Stead Museum staff provide these students with an incomparable experience beyond the classroom, where they can learn about art and the humanities first-hand. Our unique setting is authentic and historically rich, and filled with the inspiring real-life stories of its founders and their ideals, as well as a world-class collection of decorative arts and French Impressionist masterpieces. The generous support of SBM Charitable Foundation makes this learning possible, and for that we are deeply grateful.”

“Hill-Stead Museum’s ‘Art, Poetry and History’ program is tied to the school curriculum and benefits so many school children in our area communities,” said Doreen Downham, Executive Director of SBM Charitable Foundation.  “The SBMCF is delighted to continue our funding support of the Museum to provide such a wonderfully successful education enrichment program for East of the River students.”

About the SBM Charitable Foundation
The SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc., perpetuating the vision of the former Savings Bank of Manchester, is committed to bettering the lives of those who live and work predominantly East of the River in Hartford, Tolland, and Windham Counties. Priorities established for the Foundation’s giving are Health, Human Services, Education, Housing, and the Arts.