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Anne C. Odom, 75, museum curator in Washington was specialist on Russian art

By T. Rees Shapiro
Washington Post / September 3, 2011

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WASHINGTON - Anne C. Odom, a specialist on Russian imperial art who was a curator emerita at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington, died Aug. 25 at a hospital in Burlington, Vt. She was 75.

Ms. Odom, a Washington resident who had a summer home in Lincoln, Vt., had complications from injuries suffered Aug. 10, when she was struck by a bus in Middlebury, Vt.

Ms. Odom’s interest in Russian art began in the early 1970s when her husband, Army Lieutenant General William E. Odom, was posted to the US Embassy in Moscow as a military attache. He later served as director of the National Security Agency under President Ronald Reagan.

Ms. Odom joined Hillwood as a guide in 1978, a year after the estate of the late cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post opened to the public. Post had maintained the largest private collection of Russian artwork outside of Russia.

After joining Hillwood, Ms. Odom conducted research at the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and wrote books about Post’s collection.

Hillwood houses thousands of precious objects, most from the 18th and 19th centuries. It has more than 80 pieces from the Faberge design house as well as silver, porcelain, and portraits from the czarist era.

Ms. Odom became chief curator in 1991 and served simultaneously as chief curator and deputy director of collections from 1997 to 2001. As an authority on Russian art, Ms.Odom contributed to academic studies at the Smithsonian Institution and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anne Weld Curtis was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and grew up in Verona, N.J.

Ms. Odom’s husband died in 2008 after 45 years of marriage. She leaves a son, Mark of Fort Benning, Ga.; a sister; a brother; and a granddaughter.

Ms. Odom said the person she would most like to have met was Post, who died at Hillwood in 1973.