Heather Elizabeth White is a museum professional and art historian with over a decade of teaching and programming experience in informal learning environments. Her areas of expertise include visual literacy, interpretation, engagement, student centered learning, museum education, and knowledge creation in the gallery and classroom environments. She also specializes in American art history and Texas regionalism.
Professor White graduated magnum cum laude with an M.A. in Art Education with Museum Certificate as well as an M.A. in Art History from the University of North Texas. While completing her graduate work at U.N.T. Professor White was recognized as an arts advocate and awarded the Priddy Charitable Trust Fellowship in Arts Leadership. Her master’s work in art history focused on Early Texas Artists and local collections of Texas regionalism in the DFW region. Professor White went on to study American art and material culture at the University of Oklahoma through the Art of the American West program, where she was awarded the Robert S. and Grayce B. Kerr Family Foundation Fellowship. Her original research on the Early Texas Artist, Thomas Allen, was published in the book Itinerant and Immigrant Artists and Artisans in 19th-Century Texas and presented at the David B. Warren Symposium in 2013.
Professor White has worked in art museums in Houston, Oklahoma City, Denton, and Fort Worth, as well other informal learning environments, such as libraries, schools, and universities in Oklahoma and Texas. Throughout her career, she has facilitated interpretation and led engaging interactions with works of art through sophisticated gallery teaching in museums and arts non-profits. Professor White has coordinated programs that served an audience of 40,000 and conceptualized and run intimate programs for small groups. She has developed and implemented gallery, lecture, and studio programs, cultivated community partnerships, written education resources and museum publications, trained teaching artists and gallery educators, recruited and managed volunteers, and led institution-wide initiatives. Professor White has worked with encyclopedic collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and with focused American arts collections such as the Amon Carter Museum and the Sid Richardson museums in Fort Worth.
At the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Professor White trained Gallery Educators, Teaching Artists, and Docents on best practices in engagement, interpretation, and gallery teaching for all ages and audiences. Through her work as Docent Programs Manager for Rienzi in Houston, Professor White led volunteer docents through a year-long course of study on European decorative arts and painting from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries and designed engaging tours of the house, gardens, and collection. While working with the MFAH Education Department, Professor White facilitated docent education sessions and wrote resources, not only on art history and aesthetics, but also on visual literacy, thematic tours, and best practices in teaching in the museum setting. Professor White has also taught art history and art appreciation for adults and college students in Oklahoma City at Oklahoma City Community College and OKCMOA.
Professor White is committed to the social and educational responsibility of museums and universities in creating community, sharing collections, and providing safe and supportive environments for learning. She is passionate about making the arts and other cultural opportunities more accessible and inclusive. Through her work with Accessworks, Inc. and Crossing the Chasm she strove to remove physical and programmatic barriers for participation in museums, arts organizations, and other informal learning environments in Oklahoma and Texas. In 2018, she was awarded the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Award for Emerging Art Leaders through the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability, in recognition of her accessibility and inclusion work in Oklahoma City. She has published and presented on making the arts more accessible for people with disabilities.
Professor White has a young son and believes that it is never too early to begin visiting museums, engaging with works of art, and developing artistic thinking. She has published articles on early learning in the arts, launched arts programs, and tailored museum experiences for this audience throughout her career. Professor White values social service and has continuously volunteered for arts, accessibility, and educational organizations, reviewing grants, chairing committees, and working with children.
Professor White teaches Introduction to Art for non-majors (ART 1900) and American Art from the colonial period to 1900 (ART 4357), and 19th-Century Realism (ART 4354).
Ph.D., Art of the American West, University of Oklahoma, In Progress
M.A., Art History, University of North Texas, 2010
M.A., Art Education, magnum cum laude, University of North Texas, 2009
Graduate Museum Certificate, University of North Texas, 2009
B.A., Art History, University of North Texas, University Honors Program, 2007