Exciting Updates from the Wheelwright

Dear Members and Friends of the Wheelwright,

As many of you are aware, since the retirement of Jonathan Batkin in April of 2020, Jean Higgins has served brilliantly as Director of the Museum while a formal search for a new director was conducted. We are extremely grateful to Jean for her leadership and commitment to the Museum. Since her appointment, Jean’s immense knowledge and talents have allowed the Museum to achieve remarkable accomplishments during the pandemic and its constantly changing repercussions.

During this period, the Museum has:

  • Opened two major exhibitions this spring, Indigenous Women: Border Matters and Shonto Begay: Eyes of the World, both on view through Oct 3, 2021;
  • Conducted successful online sales of works in the Case Trading Post throughout the pandemic and increased the capacity of its internet platform;
  • Created active online programming, including over 30 new videos highlighting the artists whose work is featured for sale in the Case Trading Post;
  • Converted over ten previous exhibitions into virtual experiences available on the website and moved all Friends programs, Bookclub, and Curator’s Circle events online;
  • Premiered a short film, Following Enchantment’s Line, in collaboration with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, with a reach of 277,000 users on its social media platforms.

Furthermore, the Museum finds itself on solid financial footing due to the following accomplishments:

  • Secured financial stability for the Museum and achieved fundraising goals during this difficult time;
  • Successfully retained its talented salaried staff over the last 18 months;
  • Increased membership by 250% over pre-COVID-19 numbers;
  • Completed the Board Phase of the 2020-21 Endowment Campaign, adding $1.13 M to the total;

In 2020, the Board of Trustees also assembled a Search Committee to identify a new director to lead the Museum into its next chapter. The formal selection process is complete, and an outstanding candidate has been chosen, but COVID-19 related complexities have meant a delay in finalizing arrangements. This is now being steered by a Transition Committee. We look forward to sharing more news with you as this process unfolds.

The Board applauds the Museum staff for its resilience and flexibility during this time. We are confident that the Museum will continue to prosper under Jean Higgins’s leadership as it has done over the past year. There is much to look forward to, especially this August.

Join us during Indian Market week August 18–21, and mark your calendar for these special events at the Wheelwright:

Annual Benefit Event (Click to Learn More)
In the Mary Wheelwright Library
Wednesday, August 18 (Early Bird), 4:00 – 6:00 P.M. ($20/person) Thursday, August 19, 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. (Free) Friday, August 20, 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. (Free)

Native Artist’s Market (Click to Learn More)
Outside on the grounds
Friday, August 20, 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. (Free) Saturday, August 21, 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. (Free)

Case Trading Post (Click to Learn More)
Museum lower level
August 16 – 19, 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. Friday, August 20, 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. Saturday, August 21, 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. Closed Sunday and Monday

Museum Admission is Free Aug 19–21, 2021

Mary Wheelwright Society Reception

Saturday, September 18, 2021

A special upcoming event for the newly formed Mary Wheelwright Society, honoring members who give at the $1,000 Membership level or higher annually, will be held on September 18; more information about this membership level is available here. If you are not a Mary Wheelwright Society member, increase your membership today to attend this event.

Stay tuned for periodic updates in our E-blasts, on wheelwright.org, and our social media platforms, as we share the exciting news of our upcoming activities and events from your friends at the Wheelwright Museum.

And most of all, we thank YOU for supporting the Museum through your contributions, engagement, and generosity. As we approach the biggest season events during Indian Market week, we can’t wait to see you early and often and get reconnected in person.



William G. Howard, Jr.
President, Board of Trustees