The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College. (Gary Wayne Gilbert)

McMullen Museum of Art director and Professor of Art History Nancy Netzer has been named the inaugural Robert L. and Judith T. Winston Director of the McMullen Museum of Art, through the generosity of Boston College benefactors Robert ’60 and Judith Winston.

“I want to thank Bob and Judy for the gift as well as their support of Boston College and the McMullen Museum over many, many years,” said Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley at an April 30 event in celebration of the directorship. “The McMullen is a true jewel of Boston College and a resource that enriches the entire campus community and the greater Boston cultural and arts scene. Endowing its directorship at this moment in time is a profoundly powerful statement of its international prominence as well as its vibrant importance, and an investment in our collective future.”

Nancy doesn’t settle for average. Good is not good enough. It’s superior results she wants, and achieves. She’s a leader who does things highly ethically, with a touch of grace.
Robert L. Winston

At the celebration, held in the Cadigan Alumni Center, Robert Winston spoke passionately about McMullen exhibitions that had “a major impact on him”—including the groundbreaking “Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections” and “Carrie Mae Weems: Strategies of Engagement”—and about the power of art to foster understanding among people of different backgrounds and beliefs. He also cited the admiration he and his wife have for Netzer.

“Nancy doesn’t settle for average. Good is not good enough. It’s superior results she wants, and achieves. She’s a leader who does things highly ethically, with a touch of grace," he said.

Winston closed his remarks by wishing Netzer a “long, very successful reign.”

The McMullen is a true jewel of Boston College and a resource that enriches the entire campus community and the greater Boston cultural and arts scene. Endowing its directorship at this moment in time is a profoundly powerful statement of its international prominence as well as its vibrant importance, and an investment in our collective future.
Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley

Netzer thanked the Winstons for their vision and support, and said she was “deeply honored” to be the inaugural recipient of the directorship.

The Winstons, she said, “have done so much to ensure the potential for realization of the ideas we generate today, for harnessing our University’s unique potential to be a leader in museum pedagogy, investigative practice, and presentation. These goals harmonize with the University’s commitment to the search for truth, generation of knowledge, and education through an open exchange of ideas.

“The McMullen Museum shares in the Winstons’ hope that if we present future generations of students with the best ideas and tools, those students will go on to put them in the service of a better future for all of us,” she said.

Quigley, who praised Netzer’s “extraordinary body of work,” said “she has been the force guiding the imagining, the development, and the growth of the McMullen since its opening in 1993.”  

Since her arrival at Boston College in 1990, Netzer has organized more than 70 major loan exhibitions with faculty curators from a variety of disciplines, overseen publication of more than 40 scholarly catalogues, and played a major role in the renovation of the McMullen Museum’s Brighton Campus venue. In addition, she teaches courses on European medieval art and the history and philosophy of museums, and her research—on the illuminated manuscripts and metalwork of Britain, Ireland, and the Continent in the early medieval period and the reception and display of medieval art from the middle ages to the present—has resulted in a book as well as many articles and scholarly catalogues.

The Winstons "have done so much to ensure the potential for realization of the ideas we generate today, for harnessing our University’s unique potential to be a leader in museum pedagogy, investigative practice, and presentation."
Nancy Netzer, Inaugural Winston Director of the McMullen Museum of Art

The event featured a discussion with a panel of interdisciplinary BC faculty members who have collaborated on multiple projects at the McMullen Museum.

In addition to the McMullen directorship, the Winstons have been benefactors to many areas of the University over the years, including endowing the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics in the Carroll School of Management and supporting the division of University Mission and Ministry. They also have established scholarships at Saint Columbkille Partnership School.

Rosanne Pellegrini | University Communications | May 2019