John Wetenhall

photo of john wetenhall standing at a street intersection

John Wetenhall

Director, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum; Associate Professor, Museum Studies


A museum director for over two decades, John Wetenhall served for nine years as Executive Director of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, leading a $150 million capital and endowment transformation. His previous experience includes architectural projects and outdoor sculpture initiatives at the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville and the Birmingham Museum of Art. Dr. Wetenhall served as President of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and as Interim Director of The Miami Art Museum (now Perez). A scholar of 19th and 20th century public sculpture, he has taught art history at the University of Minnesota, Santa Clara University, and Stanford. He is a frequent speaker at major museum conferences and is currently writing on the purposes, values, and “business” of museums.


Current Outside Position

  • Director of the new George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum (featuring collections of global textiles and Washington area history)
    • Oversees the museum’s exhibitions, collections and educational activities, as well as finances and fund-raising
    • The museum frequently works with faculty and students on research projects, exhibits and public programs 



  • Museum Service Award from the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC)
  • Florida Association of Museums’ (FAM) Lifetime Achievement Award



BA, Dartmouth College
MA in Art History, Williams College
MA, Stanford University
PhD, Stanford University
MBA, Vanderbilt University


Professional Organizations

  • Board member, 2008-present, U.S. National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-US)
  • Vice-President for Strategic Planning & Advocacy, 2016-present, Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG)
  • Former Vice-President, Treasurer, National Program Chair and Strategic Planning Chair, 2007-2017, American Alliance of Museums (AAM)