BOSTON, MA (February 27, 2014)—Benjamin Weiss has been named Chair, Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Weiss will continue to serve in his current position, Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Visual Culture, which he has held since 2011. In that role, he co-curated The Postcard Age: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection (2012) and most recently organized Audubon’s Birds, Audubon’s Words (2013); he is currently preparing further exhibitions and publications drawn from the Leonard A. Lauder Postcard Archive, including an exhibition devoted to “real photo” postcards of the early 20th century. In addition to the Lauder Archive, Weiss has had responsibility for the MFA’s other collections of posters, postcards, illustrated books, graphic design and ephemera of all sorts.
Prior to taking his current position in Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Weiss spent seven years in the MFA’s Education Department as Head of Interpretation (2009–2012) and Manager of Adult Learning Resources (2005–2009). He was integral to the opening of the Art of the Americas Wing in 2010, when he was responsible for interpretation for 5,000 objects on view. He also oversaw the written and educational materials for all special exhibitions and installations of the collection, including brochures, multimedia tours and in-gallery wall texts and labels.
Weiss holds a Master of Arts in History from Princeton University (1991) and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College (1989). Before coming to the MFA, he worked at the Burndy Library, of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT for seven years, where he was Curator of Rare Books and Head of Exhibitions and Publications. While at Burndy, he curated more than a dozen exhibitions, on subjects as varied as color theory, 19th-century American bridge engineering and the history of obelisks. That last exhibition resulted in the collaborative monograph Obelisk: A History, co-written with Anthony Grafton, Pamela O. Long and Brian Curran, and published by MIT Press. A Renaissance historian by training, with a specialty in the history of cartography, Weiss maintains an interest in the history of maps, and specifically in the history of ancient geographical texts in the 15th and 16th centuries.