Ithaca, NY—Stephanie Wiles, the third Richard J. Schwartz Director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, has been named the next director of the Yale University Art Gallery. She will succeed Jock Reynolds as the Henry J. Heinz II Director when she joins Yale on July 1, 2018.

Stephanie Wiles (Photo © Cornell University Photography/Simon Wheeler)

"It’s been an honor and a true pleasure to have worked at the Johnson Museum and Cornell,” said Wiles. “Together with my colleagues we have achieved so much. I’m particularly proud of how we’ve attracted new partners from across campus to work with us on projects that enhance the student experience.”

At the Johnson, Wiles’s leadership since 2011 has been transformative. She has led the Museum in raising over $14.5 million: $6.5 million of endowment funds; $4.2 million of restricted funds; and $3.8 million of unrestricted funds. This included the endowment of three Museum staff positions.

Her efforts secured two significant grants for Cornell from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that created new models for interdisciplinary teaching and learning at the university level.

The first grant, in 2013, greatly expanded the Johnson’s academic outreach by allowing for the creation and development of eight new semester-long courses, co-taught by Museum staff and faculty from the arts, humanities, sciences, and engineering with artwork-based curricula.

The second grant initiative, launched in 2016, supports an innovative partnership with Cornell Library to expand access to both institutions’ rich photography collections and create new ways to integrate those materials more deeply into faculty teaching.

“When Stephanie took the helm we were at an important transitional moment as an institution,” said Ellen Avril, chief curator and curator of Asian art at the Johnson. “Her energy and vision propelled us to engage more deeply with the university’s curriculum, develop new partnerships, and plan strategically for the future. This is truly a bittersweet moment for our staff—we will miss her and yet are so proud that she was tapped for this prestigious job.”

Stephanie brought several major Museum projects to successful completion, including the installation of Leo Villareal: Cosmos in 2012 and the complete reinterpretation and reinstallation of two floors of permanent collection galleries in 2013–14.

As both a specialist in old master drawings and a former director of Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum, Wiles was able to highlight a unique collaboration by spearheading the 2017–18 exhibition Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt’s Etchings. She and Andria Derstine, her successor at the Allen, published the story of how Oberlin temporarily sheltered the Morgan Library’s 487 Rembrandt impressions during World War II in the exhibition catalogue, which also detailed new research being done by curators at both museums, including the cross-disciplinary project at Cornell, Watermark Identification in Rembrandt’s Etchings (WIRE).

At the Johnson, she curated exhibitions of work by artists Alice Dalton Brown; Margaret Bourke-White (Cornell Class of 1927); Professor Emeritus Jack Squier (Cornell MFA 1952); and Robert Richenburg, who taught at Cornell and Ithaca College in the 1960s–80s; and Highlights from the Collection: 45 Years at the Johnson currently on view.

Wiles serves on the Board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and chairs the AAMD Membership Committee. She served on several committees tasked with integrating the visual arts into the student experience at Cornell Tech in New York City, and worked with the team that removed and restored four WPA murals from Roosevelt Island’s Goldwater Hospital there.

The Museum Advisory Council, under its chair Gary Davis, will work with Cornell’s Office of the Provost to support the upcoming search for the next director of the Johnson Museum.


The Johnson Museum has a permanent collection of more than 35,000 works of art from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The museum building was designed by I. M. Pei. Funds for the building were donated by Cornell alumnus Herbert F. Johnson, late president and chairman of S C Johnson. The building opened in 1973.


The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, located on the campus of Cornell University, is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Metered parking is available in the lot next to the Museum. For more information, please call 607 255-6464. The Johnson Museum is a proud member of Ithaca’s Discovery Trail: