NOMA Curator Mel Buchanan Appointed to White House Committee

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – On Friday, April 14, President Joseph R. Biden announced the appointment of Mel Buchanan, RosaMary Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and other members to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.

The Committee for the Preservation of the White House is an advisory committee charged with the preservation of the White House, the official home and principal workplace of the President of the United States. The Committee is largely made up of citizens appointed by the President for their experience with historic preservation, architecture, decorative arts, and for their scholarship in these areas.

Buchanan is one of thirteen appointees announced last week in an official statement from the White House

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the President and First Lady to be part of this important work,” said Buchanan. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues from across the country to ensure the White House’s museum policies reflect the present and future of the field and our country.”

In addition to guiding the museum function of the presidential residence and its state rooms, the committee also works to make recommendations on acquisitions for the permanent collection of the White House and provides advice on changes to principal rooms on the ground floor, state floor, and the historic guest suites on the residence floor of the White House Executive Residence. The First Lady serves as Honorary Chair of the Committee.

In her role at NOMA, Buchanan leads exhibitions, interpretation, and collection growth for the museum’s wide-ranging decorative art and design collection. In 2018, she completed a reinstallation of the department’s galleries, including the launch of a series of commissioned artworks where contemporary designers—including Joyce Lin and Roberto Lugo—respond to the museum’s traditional collection.

Recent exhibitions include Katherine Choy: Radical Potter in 1950s New OrleansAtomic Number 13: Aluminum in 20th-Century DesignBror Anders Wikstrom: Bringing Fantasy to Carnival, and Personalities in Clay: American Studio Ceramics from the E. John Bullard Collection.

Buchanan is currently working on a major 2024 exhibition and catalogue drawing from the NOMA’s renowned collection of historic glass through themes including craft, exchange, technology, and foodways.

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