Pierre Terjanian receives the Marica Vilcek Prize in Art History for his dedication to identifying and honoring the cultural contexts in which the objects were created and used, and for his leadership to diversify The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of arms and armor. On January 8, 2024, he joins the Museum of Fine Arts Boston as Chief of Curatorial Affairs and Conservation, overseeing stewardship of the MFA’s renowned collection.
Born in Strasbourg, France, Terjanian earned a master’s degree in law from Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas, followed by a Master of Science degree in management from HEC Paris. He later obtained a doctoral degree in history at the Université de Metz before pursuing further studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
He credits his French roots with helping him to appreciate the American museums with which he has worked over the years. “As an immigrant, I have found in U.S. museums an incomparable fluid and supportive environment for learning, collaborating, and undertaking new projects,” he says. “The ability to take initiative and shape one’s work is extraordinary and both a source of motivation and a long-lasting reward.”
Terjanian’s curatorial career began at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1997. As the J.J. Medveckis Associate Curator of Arms and Armor, he oversaw the Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Collection, a collection of late medieval and Renaissance European arms and armor, and published Princely Armor in the Age of Dürer: A Renaissance Masterpiece in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In 2012, he joined The Metropolitan Museum of Art and was soon promoted to the Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Curator in Charge of the Department of Arms and Armor, overseeing the department’s collection of more than 14,000 artifacts of arms, armor, heraldry, and related objects spanning from the Bronze Age to the twentieth century. The department flourished under his leadership, with notable diversification of objects, and the development of educational programs and initiatives to engage new audiences in the museum’s collection.
Awards and Accomplishments
- Member, American Alliance of Museums
- Member, Armor and Arms Club of New York