Joyce Robinson named assistant director of the Palmer Museum of Art

October 26, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Joyce Robinson has been named assistant director of the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State, a newly created position for the museum. Robinson will serve as a collaborative leader and passionate advocate for the museum at a time of expansion and institutional growth.

Joyce Robinson

Joyce Robinson, a curator at the Palmer Museum of Art since 1997 and an affiliate associate professor in the Department of Art History at Penn State, has been named assistant director of the Palmer Museum. 

IMAGE: Penn State

“We are delighted to have Joyce step into the role of assistant director, especially during this period of growth in the museum’s collections and programs, and at this time of expansion as we look to the museum’s future,” said Erin M. Coe, director of the Palmer Museum of Art. “Joyce brings passionate leadership and strong ties with donors, collectors and community members that will be critical to elevating the museum’s profile and impact.“

Robinson has served as a curator at the Palmer Museum since 1997 and also is an affiliate associate professor in the Department of Art History. During her 20-year tenure at the Palmer, she has curated 60 exhibitions, primarily in the fields of contemporary art, photography and American art, and served as the in-house curator for nearly 30 traveling exhibitions.

“I’m excited about the direction the museum is taking and delighted to be a part of the leadership team,” said Robinson. “I’ve spent the better part of my career at the Palmer and have worked hard to foster relationships across campus and in the community. This feels like the right next step for me, both professionally and personally.”

Robinson’s managerial and organizational skills were amply evident in the highly successful exhibit "Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials," recently on view at the Palmer and currently traveling to academic museums across the United States. Working with a faculty member from English and women’s studies and a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, she oversaw the complex curatorial project as well as the exhibition’s extensive outreach and educational programming, which involved some 30 entities across Penn State. In partnership with the Arboretum at Penn State, Robinson also helped secure a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the creation and display of outdoor sculpture by artist Aurora Robson.

In her new position, Robinson will help oversee the museum’s exhibition program and collections development; continue to foster academic partnerships and engagement across the campus; work to strengthen town and gown relationships; and assist the director with donor cultivation, as well as development and marketing initiatives.

Robinson also will continue to curate exhibitions. She is part of the curatorial team, along with Julia Kasdorf and Christopher Reed from Penn State’s Department of English, organizing "Field Language: The Painting and Poetry of Warren Rohrer," a project that has received significant strategic initiative implementation funding through the Office of the Provost.

Robinson holds a doctorate and a master of arts in art history from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor of arts from Davidson College. Her publications have appeared in Winterthur Portfolio, Museum News, New Art Examiner, Studies in the Decorative Arts, International Review of African American Art, American Art Review, and in several anthologies. She has authored and served as managing editor for numerous Palmer publications, including A Small Radius of Light: G. Daniel Massad, A Retrospective (2018); A Gift from the Heart: American Art from the Collection of James and Barbara Palmer (2013); and Wos up man? Selections from the Joseph D. and Janet M. Shein Collection of Self-Taught Art (2005).

Robinson’s new role is effective immediately.

About the Palmer Museum of Art

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 9,000 objects representing and spanning a variety of cultures and centuries of art, the Palmer is the largest art museum between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Areas of strength include the museum’s collection of American art from the late 18th century to the present; prints and photography; Old Master paintings; ceramics and studio glass; and a growing collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum presents 10 exhibitions each year and, with 11 galleries, a print-study room, a 150-seat auditorium, and an outdoor sculpture garden, the Palmer Museum of Art is the leading cultural resource for the region.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is closed on Mondays and some holidays.

The Palmer receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For more information on the Palmer Museum of Art or for the calendar of upcoming events, visit

Last Updated October 26, 2018