Jeanne Haffner, Ph.D.,
Curator, Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center - Thinc Design

Dr. Haffner joined Thinc in 2023 with over a decade of experience in exhibition design, concept development, and museum planning. She recently curated and directed the award-winning Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center, the first Center in the New York State Parks system to explore coastal resilience and the impact of energy infrastructure on ecological systems. The Center, which was a Governor’s capital project, has been honored with nine awards for architectural and exhibition design and was featured in a Museum of Modern Art exhibition in 2023. Jeanne’s work as Special Assistant, Chief Curator, and Director of the Center from 2020-2023 included the creation of two audio tours in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and ASL, a 300-page high school curriculum, a NYS-certified teacher’s academy, and a suite of inclusive design features (Braille panels, audio descriptive tour, ASL video tour, and tactile elements). While at Parks from 2019-2023, Jeanne also created a digital Long Island Water Atlas for a new Visitor Center at Hempstead Lake State Park (2022), and is currently chief curator of a new exhibition on tree science and landscape history for a Visitor Center at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum (opening 2024).

 

Prior to joining NYS Parks, Jeanne co-curated the exhibition Hudson Rising (2019) at the New-York Historical Society, which explored two centuries of ecological change and environmental thinking along the Hudson River. The exhibition was widely celebrated by reviewers, one of whom wrote that it was “one of the most sophisticated, and yet completely accessible (and fun!) overviews of the relationship between New York City history and the Hudson River that [they had] ever encountered.”

 

Jeanne first began curating exhibitions during her time as a fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (2006-2008) and while writing her first book, The View from Above: The Science of Social Space (MIT Press, 2013). She was hooked by the challenge, and continued curating exhibitions on her own academic research while teaching in the Urban Studies Department at Brown University (2011-2012) and the Harvard University Department of the History of Science (2012-2015), and as the inaugural Mellon urban landscape studies fellow at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection (Harvard, 2015-2017). Her second book, the edited volume Landscapes of Housing: Design and Planning in the History of Environmental Thought, was published by Routledge Press in 2021. In addition to Brown and Harvard Universities, Jeanne was also Adjunct Associate Professor of Sustainable Development at Hofstra University from 2022-2023 and has taught at the ETH in Zürich (2010) and the Technical University of Berlin (2014). Her writings on landscape design history and theory have been published in The Guardian, the Atlantic, Urban Omnibus, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Arch+ (translated into German), and other publications and featured on BBC Radio 3.

 

An educator at heart, Jeanne approaches every design project as an opportunity to offer transformational experiences for visitors. Exhibitions offer spaces for reflection, social gathering, and inspiration that visitors can take with them when they leave. She hopes to provide museum-goers with new tools for seeing, understanding, and engaging with the complex world outside the museum’s doors.

 

Selected Projects
Ongoing, Dance to Belong: A History of Dance at 92NY, New York, NY
Ongoing, Concept Design for the Center for Health & Social Justice, San Francisco, CA
Ongoing, Visitor Center at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Great River, NY
2021, Long Island Water Atlas, Environmental Education and Resiliency Center, Hempstead, NY
2020, Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center, Wantagh, NY
2019, Hudson Rising, New-York Historical Society, New York, NY