Personality Test: Judith Hansen O’Toole
As an expert and author in the field of 19th- and 20th-century American art, Judith Hansen O’Toole is a regular speaker at venues like Sotheby’s, the National Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Chicago Art Institute.
But she’s happiest when she’s fulfilling her role as director and CEO of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art since 1993.
O’Toole attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota and has a master’s degree in art history from Penn State.
In response to her leadership and community orientation, the Westmoreland museum was the subject of a PBS Visionaries TV documentary in 2000.
O’Toole has received many awards, including, in 2013, the Business Women First Award, Pittsburgh Business Times.
The star who would play me in the movie version of my life:
Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s really quirky and fun and up for anything that comes along.
My father. Sometimes, I was a bit intimidated by his intellect, but he was warm, loving and playful.
The superpower I wish I had in real life:
Hearing what people are thinking. Because sometimes oral communication just doesn’t come out right on either side of a conversation.
Spring — when everything comes back to life.
Favorite ethnic food:
Greek. I spent six weeks there with my grandparents after high-school graduation. It was wonderful.
I spend the most time on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other:
Facebook. I check in with family and friends. We share articles and other news bits.
Favorite guilty pleasure:
Chocolate milkshakes (with whipped cream on top!)
The song I want played at my funeral:
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I’m a real Oz freak.
Something I would do over if I could:
Work harder at learning foreign languages and playing the piano.
My favorite TV or movie villain?
Cruella De Vil
Favorite lunchtime spot:
The museum’s new cafe cart
My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:
Grilled cheese — any cheese — with apple
Best vacation ever:
Place I’d most like to visit:
I wish I had more time to:
Do anything other than work. Although I love my work.
When I was 10, I wanted to be:
In the Navy, like my father
Show I have or want to binge watch:
“The Golden Girls”
My favorite thing about Pittsburgh:
So much going on in the arts.
My quirkiest inherited trait:
Sneezing multiple times in a row. Like 10 to 12. My father did it, too.
One word my mother would use to describe me:
Such a “nice” girl!
In high school, I was:
A nerd. Editor of the yearbook, etc.
My first job:
Nurse’s aide in a nursing home in Minneapolis
My worst job:
Hotel maid. People are slobs!
I’m deathly afraid of:
Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:
Mt. Washington and the view
My most treasured fashion accessory:
Scarves — I have a lot of them, mostly acquired at museum shops.
The Disney character most like me:
My most memorable fashion mistake:
Wearing what I thought was casual to a donor’s “casual” summer party in 1993. I never did that again. Like Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
What you’ll always find in my glove compartment:
An extra pair of sunglasses
The last book I read:
“The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd
My favorite website:
The Westmoreland (Museum of American Art), of course!
If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:
I would like to try being a philanthropist. We have been helped by so many. I know it’s not an easy job, but I’d like to try it from that perspective.
The song that always gets me out on the dance floor:
“Take Me Higher” or “Brown Eyed Girl”
Recently, it’s been riding shotgun on sculpture trips with my husband, Kevin.
My personal motto:
“Stay curious. Be interested in big things and happy in small ways.” (Borrowed from Edith Wharton)
Overused phrase I hate most:
“I’m going to circle back to you on that.”
People would be surprised to know that I:
Often dry-mop the floors following an opening reception. (All the staff pitch in, but that’s my specialty.)