Massumeh Farhad joined the National Museum of Asian Art, in 1995 as associate curator of Islamic Art. In 2004, she was appointed chief curator and curator of Islamic art. She is a specialist in the arts of the book from sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century Iran. Dr. Farhad has curated numerous exhibitions on the arts of the Islamic world at the Freer and Sackler, including Art of the Persian Courts (1996), Fountains of Light: The Nuhad Es-Said Collection of Metalwork (2000), Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey (2005-6), The Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in the Moscow Kremlin (2009), Falnama: The Book of Omens (2009-10), Roads of Arabia: History and Archaeology of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2012), and The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (2016).
She received her PhD in Islamic Art History from Harvard University in 1987. Her publications include Slaves of the Shah: New Elites in Safavid Iran (2004), Falnama: The Book of Omens (2009), The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (2016), and A Collector’s Passion: Ezzat-Malek Soudavar and Persian Lacquer (2017).