Linda Ayres, whose varied career spans more than 20 years with cultural institutions, including art museums, is the new chief of the Prints and Photographs Division. She succeeds Stephen E. Ostrow, who retired in December 1996.
An American art specialist, Ms. Ayres has organized more than 20 exhibitions, written and lectured extensively about American art, developed acquisitions and collections maintenance policies for several museums and planned and implemented scholarly symposia and lecture series.
Announcing the appointment, Associate Librarian for Library Services Winston Tabb said: "Her knowledge, enthusiasm, experience, and strong communications skills will make her a great asset to the division and the Library."
Most recently, Ms. Ayres has provided a variety of services to cultural institutions, including organizing an event with art critic Robert Hughes that launched his new PBS series and book on American art, American Visions. She raised funds for several exhibitions at the National Museum of American Art, did scholarly research for a forthcoming Smithsonian exhibition of American frames, planned and conducted a Stanford University tutorial on funding for the arts and reported her on-site assessments of 10 art museums for the North Carolina Arts Council.
From 1993 to 1995, Ms. Ayres served as assistant director of the Museum Program for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). She helped formulate the NEA museum policy, developed annual budgets of some $10 million for the NEA Museum Program and guided long-range planning that brought together museum directors, artists and grant makers to assess museum needs and priorities.
Ms. Ayres was deputy director of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn. (October 1990-December 1992); associate director for exhibitions and public programs for the Wadsworth Atheneum (January 1989 to October 1990); and curator of paintings and sculpture at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth (August 1984 to December 1988). She was instrumental in assembling the Amon Carter Museum's extensive collection of American prints and negotiated the acquisition of a master set of 220 prints by George Bellows.
She was assistant curator of American Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington (April 1978 to July 1984) and a research assistant for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery (May 1977 to April 1978). Between July 1974 and September 1976, she served as bicentennial coordinator and assistant to the director at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.
Her list of 27 publications includes prize-winning exhibition catalogs, books, journal articles, essays and reviews. She is listed in Who's Who in American Art and has served on the editorial board for the scholarly journal Studies in the History of Art.
Ms. Ayres graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in the humanities from Washington College in Chestertown, Md., in 1969, and she earned a master's degree in art history with a focus on American art from Tufts University in 1973.