Crystal Bridges names two new directors

“I am thrilled to join Crystal Bridges at this exciting time in its development,” said Margi Conrads. “It is a privilege to be a part of an institution dedicated to welcoming all to experience the power of art.”


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art this week announced the appointments of two new top positions.

Margaret C. Conrads was named director of curatorial affairs for the museum. She comes from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, where she served as deputy director of art and research, managing the curatorial, conservation, exhibitions, library and archives, and design and installation divisions. Previously, Conrads spent 20 years at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., where she was the Samuel Sosland senior curator of American art.

Conrads will join the museum in March where she will help with design and development of the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. She will also lead the curatorial, collection management, and library and archives teams.

From a news release:

Conrads’ doctorate concentration was American art to 1945, and she has received international recognition for the exhibition and catalog, Winslow Homer and the Critics: Forging a National Art in the 1870s (Princeton University Press). She has organized national and international touring exhibitions, collaborating with a variety of institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the High Museum of Art. She’s the co-curator of American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood, organized by the Peabody Essex Museum in collaboration with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and opening in 2015.

While at the Nelson-Atkins, Conrads was the editor and primary author of The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: American Paintings to 1945. She contributed select essays for Crystal Bridges’ inaugural collection catalog, Celebrating the American Spirit, and has published writings on key American artists in the Crystal Bridges’ collection, including Eastman Johnson, Thomas Cole, Thomas Hart Benton, Alexander Calder, and Andrew Wyeth, among others.

“Crystal Bridges is such a unique place to explore art, architecture, and nature,” said Robin Groesbeck. “I’m excited to help provide opportunities for visitors to have emotionally-moving and intellectually-stimulating experiences.”


“Margi is clearly a distinguished curator whose scholarly research and vision will continue to enhance our dynamic institution,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges’ executive director.

The museum also announced the hiring of Robin Groesbeck as director of exhibitions and interpretive presentations. Groesbeck most recently served as senior director of exhibits and design at California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

She will oversee the design and development of exhibitions, art installations, and facilitates interpretive activities to promote engagement and learning inside and outside the museum.

From the release:

(Groesbeck) has helped organize more than 70 exhibitions and installations at museums including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, where she was the deputy director for art and programs and director of museum services, as well as the Field Museum in Chicago, where she was director of exhibition. Groesbeck earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is a Getty Museum Leadership Institute graduate as well.

“Robin’s years of experience developing exhibitions and interpretative tools will further our commitment to engagement and add to the positive museum experience for our visitors,” said Bigelow.