Museum Staff

Donald A. Wood, PhD

Virginia and William M. Spencer III Curator of Asian Art Emeritus

Donald A. Wood, Ph.D. served as Curator of Asian Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art from 1987 to 2017. He was appointed The Virginia and William M. Spencer III Curator of Asian Art in 2000, and served as Chief Curator from 1996 to 2008. Along with his curatorial duties Wood is now also Senior Curator. He received his Doctorate with Honors, his Master of Philosophy and Masters degrees from the University of Kansas, and his Bachelors degree from Wittenberg University. In addition he also studied at the University of Toronto, Middlebury College, Kansai University of Foreign Studies (Osaka, Japan), Kyoto University (Kyoto, Japan) and Schiller College (Kleiningersheim, Germany). Wood’s dissertation was on the cult of the Eleven-headed Avalokitesvara in China and Japan, (Eleven Faces of the Bodhisattva, University of Kansas, 1985).

Prior to his work at Birmingham, Dr. Wood was Curator of Asian Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art, worked at the National Palace Museum (Taipei, Taiwan) and at the Spencer Museum, University of Kansas. He also taught at Kansai University of Foreign Studies, Kinran Junior College, both in Osaka, Japan, Tulane University and The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Wood lived in Taiwan for one year, Japan for seven during the course of his studies, and has traveled extensively throughout Asia.

Wood curated such acclaimed exhibitions as The First Emperor: Treasures from Ancient China and Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa Master – Pioneer of Modern Design, and All the Colors of the Rainbow: Uzbekistan Ikats from the Collection of Peggy Slappey, as well as many others. He has published extensively, served as an advisor to collections and collectors, and has traveled in and out of Asia for the past 35 years. His expertise in Asian art has put him in high demand as a consultant and guest speaker.

Dr. Wood’s areas of interest include Buddhist art, Asian ceramics, Japanese prints, Indian and Southeast Asian sculpture and Korean art.