Placed Leaders

Siddhartha V. Shah


The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

We partnered with the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College on the search for a Director. Established with funds bequeathed by William Rutherford Mead (class of 1867), a partner in the storied architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, the Mead Art Museum holds the 19,000-object art collection of Amherst College, representing a wide range of historical periods, national schools and artistic media. 

The search resulted in the recruitment of Siddhartha V. Shah to the role.

In this role, Shah will oversee the museum’s collections, acquisitions, exhibitions, and programs, as well as a variety of initiatives aimed at deepening engagement with the community both on and off campus.

Fostering intersectional learning and cross-cultural understanding through the arts has long been a guiding principle of Shah’s life and career.

Shah joins the Mead from Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), where he served as Director of Education and Civic Engagement and the Curator of South Asian Art. Among other notable accomplishments, Shah curated the installation of PEM’s new South Asian Art Galleries to consider how colonial occupation shaped ideas and perceptions of India that persist today. The project shed new light on the museum’s renowned Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection of modern Indian Art and what it reveals about nation-building and self-discovery. Most recently, he curated the exhibition Zachari Logan: Remembrance, which opened in May 2022.

Prior, he operated the Siddhartha V. Shah Fine Art in Berkeley, CA and New York, and also worked as an art consultant and gallery director. As a curator, he specializes in Hindu and Buddhist art of the Kathmandu Valley, visual and material culture of Victorian India, 19th century European painting, and modern Indian art.

He was a member of the 2020-21 City of Salem, MA Race Equity Task Force and currently serves on the boards of the American Council for Southern Asian Art, the Salem YMCA, the Advisory Council of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, and the Professional Alliance for Curators of Color (Association of Art Museum Curators).

Shah received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Johns Hopkins University. He earned a Master’s in East-West psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He holds a Doctorate in art history from Columbia University.