Michael Botwinick has been Director of the Hudson River Museum since 2001. He has served as Director of the Brooklyn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Newport Harbor Art Museum in Orange County, CA, The Center for Orange County Regional Studies at the University of California, Irvine and as Assistant Director at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He began his career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he was an Associate Curator of Medieval Art and the Cloisters before becoming Assistant Curator-in-Chief of the Museum.
He did his Graduate work at Columbia University. He taught at Columbia and City College. He has organized exhibitions with Museums throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, including the first American exhibitions to go to China. He has served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of State on its Art in Embassies Program, the International Research and Exchange Board on Cultural Exchange, the Egyptian Government on cultural policy, the World Bank on the renovation for the Cairo Museum, Yale University on its Art Gallery, and others. He served on the committee that drafted the first Code of Ethics for the American Association of Museums. He has served as a Board Member for the AAM, AAMD, Museums Collaborative and US-ICOM among others. He was Vice President of the Museum Association of New York State from 2008 to 2013.
The United States provides little direct government support or oversight (e.g. a Ministry of Culture) of a highly developed and complex arts and culture sector. The major cultural institution types that we are familiar with are not the result of a national cultural policy. Historically they emerge from and develop parallel to the institutional forms in the education and social services sector. They are supported by a variety of government policies and actions largely conceived for other public purposes. This course will provide undergraduate students with an introduction to this historical evolution from the importation of differing European notions of charity in Colonial times up to the end of the Cold War. It will go on to examine the current state of public policy and the arts by using real world examples to look at major issues—censorship, government funding and the redevelopment of cities. Finally, the course will look at the arts and creative industries in a post-industrial world of rapid technological, social, political and economic change. Students will lead an exploration of the new challenges and opportunities posed by the digital world.