First woman appointed director of SMU's Meadows Museum
Amanda Dotseth, interim director since Mark Roglán's death in 2021, was once his teaching assistant. She takes charge of the Meadows on March 1.
Amanda Dotseth will bring a fresh perspective, she said, to the mission of the Meadows Museum: researching and exhibiting the arts and culture of Spain.
“I see myself as a bridge between the past and the future,” Dotseth said. Associated with the museum for almost 20 years, she was a student of the previous director Mark Roglán. Roglán died of cancer in 2021, and Dotseth was appointed interim director. She said she watched the museum grow under his leadership and has seen it change and modernize.
The number of women is growing in the field of art history— it now stands at 51 percent, Dotseth said. Yet her appointment remains significant: Women remain less represented in top roles.
Dotseth was raised in Arizona and earned her master’s in art history at Southern Methodist University in 2004 – she was Roglán’s teaching assistant. Her Ph.D in medieval Spanish art is from the Courtald Institute of Art, London. At the Meadows, she’s curated more than 30 exhibitions and cultivated connections with international partners, including the Rijksmuseum, the National Gallery of Ireland and the Museo del Traje in Madrid.
As an art historian, Dotseth has brought a feminist perspective to the field. Previously, experts assumed unknown artists and artisans were men, but that perspective is changing, she said. That some of the anonymous artists could have been women is becoming more widely accepted.
Dotseth plans to fill in some of the Meadows collection’s gaps, she said. Currently, the museum’s holdings in Spanish art span the 10th to the 21st century. But 800 years of Muslim influence on the Iberian Peninsula, for example, are not included. Dotseth said that additional works could come through exhibitions, acquisitions, loans and partnerships.
The new director will also oversee the expansion of academic research at the Meadows with the Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture. Dotseth called it “an academic think tank that will cultivate scholars, fellows and researchers.” The institute will allow the museum to integrate material culture—manuscripts, textiles, porcelain—with the fine arts to help tell a more complete story of Spanish culture and history.
Dotseth credited Roglán with significantly expanding the Meadows Museum's acquisitions and solidifying its international reputation in Spanish culture. She said she wants to continue building on that while also growing the museum’s ties to North Texas. This entails telling a broader story beyond the confines of the current collection. To do so, Dotseth said she will use exhibitions to expand a “broader perspective of art—Spanish art—and how it fits in with the local and campus community.”
In a released statement, SMU President R. Gerald Turner said that Dotseth “brings a unique understanding of the important mission and role of the Meadows Museum. In addition, her many years as curator, then interim director has prepared her to position the Museum for the future while understanding its legacy.”