Dr Audrey Whitty has been appointed head of collections and learning (April 2019) at the National Museum of Ireland (NMI). The vice-chair of the Irish Museums Association, Dr Whitty held the position of keeper of the Art and Industrial division at NMI from 2015-19.
She is a member of the senior management team, and is responsible for all aspects of the care of the 5 million objects in the collections across the four sites. This includes management of the four curatorial departments: Conservation, Registration, Education, Photography, Design and the museum's exhibitions programme.
In her role as keeper, she was responsible for all collections, exhibitions, and leading the curatorial department and team on the Collins Barracks site. From 2015 she project-managed and opened several exhibitions at Collins Barracks, including the acclaimed Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising exhibition. During 2013 and 2014 she was curator of European and Asian glass at The Corning Museum of Glass, New York where she was responsible for an extensive collection in what is widely regarded as the greatest glass museum in the world. From 2001 to 2013, Dr Whitty was curator of ceramics, glass and asian collections, Art and Industrial Division, NMI. She has curated numerous exhibitions, most notably A Dubliner's Collection of Asian Art: The Albert Bender Exhibition and the National Museum's visible storage facility What's In Store? (approx. 16,500 objects), which showcases some of the museum's most important collections of applied arts. A graduate (B.A.: History and Archaeology) and postgraduate (M.A.: Archaeology) of University College Dublin, she also has a doctorate from Trinity College Dublin in History of Art as a result of her thesis, ‘The Albert Bender (1866-1941) Donations of Far Eastern Art to the National Museum of Ireland in the context of his Cultural Interests in Ireland and California'.
In addition to her role at the National Museum she has been Irish commissioner to both European Ceramic Context and European Glass Context, 2006-12 (European Union-wide biennales of contemporary glass and ceramics), which take place on the Danish island of Bornholm. In 2009 she became the first Irish woman to be elected to the International Academy of Ceramics based in Geneva. She is a trustee of the British Glass Foundation/White House Cone Museum of Glass, UK. She has authored over seventy publications and lectured to such institutions as the Sorbonne, Paris; Trinity College Dublin; Art Institute of Chicago; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; SOFA (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art), Chicago; National University of Ireland, Galway; the American Irish Historical Society, New York City; the Irish-Chinese Cultural Society; New York Metropolitan Glass Club; University College Dublin; Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington; National University of Ireland, Maynooth and National College of Art & Design, Dublin. She is author of the major publication, The Albert Bender Collection of Asian Art in the National Museum of Ireland, which was published by the National Museum of Ireland and Wordwell Books in 2011.