Glenn Willumson was a professor of art history and the founding director of the graduate program in Museum Studies at the University of Florida’s School of Art + Art History. His research interests include the history of photography and American visual culture. His experience in museums includes work at the Nelson Art Gallery (Davis, CA), the University Art Museum (Santa Barbara, CA), and the Getty Research Center where he was responsible for developing collections in American art, photography, European and American cultural history, and art historical methodology. He has also served as the curator of collections and, later, as senior curator at the Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State.
In addition to his work in museum theory and practice, Willumson has remained an active scholar in art history where his primary interests are in the history of photography and American art. His essays have appeared in History of Photography, Victorian Studies, and American Art Review. He has published a book about media imagery, W. Eugene Smith and the Photographic Essay (Cambridge University Press: 1992) that earned a Getty Publication Grant. He has published articles about museums and collecting in Museum International, History of Photography, and has contributed essays for Section française de l'Institut international de conservation, Photos, Objects, Histories (Routledge: 2004), Framing the West (Yale: 2010) and The Crocker Art Museum Collection Unveiled (Crocker Art Museum: 2010). In 2005-06, he participated in an intracollegiate study of the contribution of historic preservation and history museums to their communities (Florida Department of State: 2006). He has also written about the importance of education in art museums in the twenty-first century (From Periphery to Center, NAEA: 2007).
He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Yale University (Bienecke) and Stanford University (Bill Lane Center). In 2007-8, he was a senior fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His book, Iron Muse: Photographing the Transcontinental Railroad, was published by the University of California Press in 2013. He was named Florida Foundation Research Professor in 2013. His current research interests include institutional photo archives and the development of taste and the photography market.