Staff

Aaron H. De Groft, Ph.D. (W&M ’88)
Director & CEO | adegroft@wm.edu | 757.221.2701

Dr. De Groft received his undergraduate degree in Art History from The College of William and Mary, ’88; an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies with a specialty in contemporary American painting from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina; and as an Appleton Fellow received his Ph.D. in Art History from Florida State University with a specialty in European art from the 15th through the 19th centuries.  He has also studied Italian Renaissance and Baroque art history in Florence, Italy.

Aaron De Groft has held professional curatorial and teaching positions at McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, at Florida State University, at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, and at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida. His current research and publishing interests are in Old Master European art including work on Titian, Peter Paul Rubens and a number of other Italian artists.  De Groft is also engaged in focused work on the Gilded Age, and American collectors of Old Master paintings, including a major, forthcoming book on John Ringling, the American Circus and business entrepreneur who built one of the most significant European painting collections in the world and then left it to the people of Florida as his grand legacy.

Before returning to The College in 2005, De Groft was the curator and project coordinator of the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration at the Ringling Museum from late 1995 through 1998. He returned as the Deputy Director & Chief Curator at the Ringling in October 2000 as part of the Florida State University/Ringling affiliation where he oversaw the final phases of the $15,000,000 conservation and restoration of the Ringling historic mansion, Cà d’Zan, as well as overseeing the art collection, conservation, the library, education and programs and the Circus Museum.

Under De Groft’s leadership the Muscarelle has grown in membership, programming and exhibitions. De Groft’s philosophy of “Museum as Laboratory” has also served well to better integrate the Museum into the daily life of The College.

John T. Spike, Ph.D.
Assistant Director & Chief Curator | jtspike@wm.edu | 757.221.2702

A dynamic curator and teacher, Spike’s fresh insights and profound scholarship have opened new vistas in art history, removing the barriers between Renaissance and contemporary studies and underscoring their shared foundations. Originally at the Museum to serve as our Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Spike is deepening his friendship with our College, which began with his appointment to the Muscarelle Museum Board of Directors in 2006. Our students and docents already know and love him. Read his biography and bibliography at www.johntspike.com.

Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, Ph.D
Adjunct Curator for Native American Art | dmoret@wm.edu | 757.221.1112

Melissa Parris
Head of Collections & Exhibitions | mmparris@wm.edu | 757.221.2704

Melissa Parris holds both a B.A. and M.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Art History, is a graduate of the Jekyll Island Management Institute (JIMI) in museum management training, and is a Certified Institutional Protection Specialist (CIPS) and Manager (CIPM) through The International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection.  She served as Registrar for the Muscarelle Museum of Art in the mid-to-late 1990s before moving to London, England where she worked as a Registrar of Contemporary Arts at Martinspeed, Ltd. Upon her return to the States, she has worked for Art Services International as Registrar and at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as Associate Registrar for Exhibitions and Loans before re-joining the staff at the Muscarelle where she is now Head of Collections and Exhibitions Management and Curator of the President’s Collection of Art. Parris is a member of the Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists (ARCS), co-founder of the Hampton Roads Registrars Group (HRRG), Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) and served on the International Liaisons Task Force for the Registrars Committee of the American Alliance of Museums (RC-AAM) of which she is a long-standing member. In 2011, Parris served as a Cultural Delegate to Cuba for the American Alliance of Museums and has served as program co-chair for two international registrars and collections care specialists symposia in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Laura Fogarty
Associate Registrar | lfogarty@wm.edu | 757.221.2705

Laura Fogarty holds a B.A. in History from Rhodes College and a Master of Science in Library Science (M.S.L.S.) with a concentration in Archives and Records Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Laura’s previous experience includes serving as the Registrar’s Fellow for the Muscarelle Museum of Art, working with the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s curatorial department, completing an Archival Fellowship for the Memphis and Shelby County Room of the Benjamin L. Hooks Memphis Public Library, interning at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and volunteering at the Mariners’ Museum.

Kevin Gilliam
Facilities & Exhibitions Manager | kgilliam@wm.edu | 757.221.2706

Kevin Gilliam received his B.A. from California State University at Long Beach. He has had a variety of museum experiences, including Exhibition Specialist at The University of Arizona Museum of Art, where he spent sixteen years. In 2005, he began working as an Art Handler for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, trading time between the museums and historic district. Gilliam joined the staff of the Muscarelle in 2008.

Cindy Lucas
Assistant to the Director | caluca@wm.edu | 757.221.2710

Amber Pfenning
Administrative Coordinator | alpfenning@wm.edu | 757.221.2709

Larry Wright
Director of Security | 757.221.2708

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