Image credit: Photo by Elena Olivo.

The New-York Historical Society, the first museum in New York City, is pleased to announce that Dr. H. M. Agnes Hsu-Tang has been elected as the incoming chair of its Board of Trustees. Her service as chair will commence on February 28, 2022. She succeeds Pam B. Schafler, who has served as board chair since 2013 and who will remain a trustee with the title chair emerita. Accomplishments during Ms. Schafler’s tenure include the inauguration of the nationally-televised series, History with David M. Rubenstein, filmed live from New-York Historical’s Robert H. Smith Auditorium; the reinstallation of the institution’s magnificent Tiffany lamp collection; and the successful completion of a major capital campaign for the complete renovation of New-York Historical’s permanent collection galleries. 

Dr. Hsu-Tang, an international cultural heritage policy advisor trained in archaeology and art history, has been a trustee of New-York Historical since 2013, where she has chaired the Exhibitions Committee and served on the Executive and Strategic Planning Committees since 2015. During her term as chair, Dr. Hsu-Tang will lead and act on a variety of initiatives including the construction of New-York Historical’s expansion of its Central Park West home—a 70,000 square foot annex designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, with one floor dedicated to the American LGBTQ+ Museum. She will also work to mount exhibitions that provide opportunities for people of all backgrounds to engage with history as well as to enhance New-York Historical’s Master of Arts program in Museum Studies, which was developed under her leadership of the Exhibitions Committee in collaboration with the CUNY School of Professional Studies to diversify the museum workforce and address the needs of an increasingly diverse and engaged museum-going public.

“Agnes Hsu-Tang’s dedication to public service and history is evident throughout her illustrious career, and we at New-York Historical have been particularly indebted to her expertise, including her scholarly contributions to our landmark exhibitions, Chinese American: Exclusion/InclusionHarry Potter and the History of Magic, and Dreaming Together,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO, New-York Historical. “Her election to lead our Board of Trustees means that our institution will be well-placed as we launch our newest initiatives, among them the expansion of our campus and our Academy for American Democracy. It has also been a great privilege to work alongside Pam Schafler these past nine years as we re-opened our Luce Center, created the Center for Women’s History, and increased our educational programs for students and teachers. We are so pleased she will remain a part of New-York Historical, continuing as a trustee and member of our Executive Committee.”

“It is a tremendous honor to be elected to lead the board of the third oldest cultural institution in the U.S. and the first museum in New York, at a time of forward thinking and growth,” said Dr. Hsu-Tang. “For the last two decades, at least, New-York Historical has reflected the pluralistic democracy we strive to be. Since 1804, we have been a steward of America’s cultural heritage, for the people, by the people, and to the people.  We are the future of American history.

“I am especially grateful to Pam for her great dedication, commitment, and inspiring leadership as chair for the last nine years,” said Dr. Hsu-Tang. “Pam has been an exceptional board chair, guiding our institution during one of the most challenging times in our 217-year history. I look forward to partnering with Louise and have enormous respect for her venerable intellect and indefatigable leadership.  We have worked closely on several projects in the past six years, and we make a great team.”

Dr. Hsu-Tang is Distinguished Consulting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and a senior research scholar at Columbia University. From 2015 to 2020, she was Executive Chair and Chair of the Steering Committee of Asia Society’s inaugural Triennial. From 2006 to 2013, Agnes served on UNESCO World Heritage Centre’s scientific committees and participated on three missions to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Western China.  In addition to academic publications and lectures, Dr. Hsu-Tang’s recent scholarly contributions include four exhibitions, Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion at New-York Historical (2014-15), China’s Lost Civilization: The Mystery of Sanxingdui at the Bowers Museum (2014-15), Asia Society Inaugural Triennial: We Do Not Dream Alone (2020-21), and New-York Historical’s Dreaming Together (2020-21).

Dr. Hsu-Tang serves on the Director’s Council at the Institute of the Study of the Ancient World at New York University and is a founding advisory committee member of the Artist Protection Fund at the Institute of International Education. She served on the boards of the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (2013-2018) and the Peabody Institute of Archaeology at Phillips Academy Andover (2015-2018). She co-founded the Tang Center for Early China at Columbia University (2015), Tang Center for Silk Road Studies at UC Berkeley (2017), and Hsu-Tang Library for Classical Chinese Literature at Oxford University Press (2019). She was a managing director on the board of the Metropolitan Opera from 2014 to July 2021; she served on the Met’s Oversight Committee from 2017 to 2018 and chaired the Board Recruitment Taskforce from 2018 to 2019 and the Nominating Committee from 2018 to 2020. 

Dr. Hsu-Tang is a recipient of New-York Historical’s 2018 Medal of Merit for Public Engagement; Institute of International Education’s Centennial Medal in 2019; and Asia Society Hong Kong Center’s 2021 Maestro Award for co-founding The Yellow Whistle™ campaign to combat anti-Asian American violence and xenophobia. She studied English literature, classical archaeology, and East Asian studies at Bryn Mawr College. She was a Mellon fellow at the Needham Research Institute at Cambridge University, and her research was subsequently nominated for the Royal Asiatic Society’s Barwis Holliday Award. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Dr. Hsu-Tang taught at Brown University from 2004 to 2007 and was a postdoctoral scholar in classics at Stanford University from 2007 to 2008.  She joined Columbia University in 2015.  

About the New-York Historical Society
New York City’s oldest museum, the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library was founded in 1804. The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library—one of the most distinguished in the nation—fosters research through its outstanding collections, which include more than 10 million items. The Museum presents groundbreaking history and art exhibitions as well as public programs that convey the stories of New York and the nation’s diverse populations to the broadest possible public.

The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024. Information: (212) 873-3400. Website: Follow the museum on social media at @nyhistory on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Tumblr.

Leave a Reply