Karol A. Lawson, Ph.D.
Director of the Art Collection and Galleries, and the Sweet Briar Museum
Visiting Assistant Professor of Arts Management, Acting Director of the Arts Management Program (summer 2015)
Karol Lawson earned a B.A. in art history and anthropology from Sweet Briar College and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in art history from the University of Virginia. She has been an art museum curator and administrator for over 20 years. In addition to advanced academic training in 18th and 19th-century American art, she has experience in anthropological museums and archaeological field work and has dealt with collections covered by the Native American
Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Her career began at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Art. Lawson subsequently served as chief curator and director of collections at The Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia, and as director of The Maier Museum of Art at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is the recipient of individual scholarly grants from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian
Institution, the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, and the Huntington Library and Art Collections, and has been instrumental in securing grants for collections care and museum outreach from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and from regional and national foundations. She has been a peer reviewer for the American Association of Museums accreditation and museum assessment programs since 1995 and served as chair of the Museum Committee of the College Art Association 2011-13. She has served as a peer reviewer for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has 15 years cumulative experience teaching art history and museum studies at the undergraduate level and also publishes and speaks at professional conferences at the national level on legal and ethical issues with regard to the management of museum collections.