Amon Carter Museum of American Art – 2017
Fort Worth, TX

Amanda Blake appointed Director of Education and Library Services

We are pleased to announce that the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX has appointed as its new Director of Education and Library Services Amanda Blake. Blake is currently Interim Director of Education and Head of Family, Access and School Experiences of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), TX. Blake begins her new position effective January 15, 2018.  Scott Stevens of Museum Search & Reference ran the national search.

Blake will provide the vision, strategic direction and leadership for the Amon Carter’s programs and projects that connect audiences to the museum.

“Amanda brings more than 13 years of arts-education experience with a focus on initiating and creating opportunities that reach various areas of the community,” said Andrew J. Walker, executive director. “She is creative, innovative and passionate about art, and we are delighted to welcome her to the Amon Carter.”

While at the DMA, Blake oversaw a team of 26 educators who served more than 800,000 annual visitors through adult programs; Arts & Letters Live; family, access and school experiences; interpretation; and the Center for Creative Connections. She expanded program opportunities and directed new educational initiatives for community engagement, and increased earned revenue by 90 percent. Her experience also includes education positions at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Nasher Sculpture Center and Wichita Art Museum. Blake has presented at more than 20 regional and national conferences and forums of professional organizations such as the American Alliance of Museums and National Art Education Association. She earned her Master of Arts in Art History from the University of North Texas and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History and Studio Art from Oklahoma State University.

“I am honored to join the Amon Carter Museum,” Blake says, “and I am thrilled to continue the wonderful educational experiences currently offered, and I am grateful for the opportunity to expand and develop the museum’s community outreach and programming initiatives. Throughout my career, I have focused on programs to create accessibility for underserved audiences, and I look forward to helping shape the next chapter for the Amon Carter.”


Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington – 2017
Washington, DC

Kara Blond appointed Director

We are pleased to announce that the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, DC (JHSGW) has appointed as it’s new Executive Director Kara Blond. Blond is currently Director of Exhibitions of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC. Blond begins her new position effective September 5, 2017. Museum Search & Reference conducted the national search. 

Blond will lead the Society’s day-to-day operations and the planning, design, construction and programming of the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum in a new building adjacent to the Capitol Crossing Project under construction in downtown Washington. The Museum will incorporate the Society’s historic 1876 synagogue, the region’s first and oldest purpose-built synagogue building. Planning for the new Museum will continue over the next few years in conjunction with a major capital campaign.

Board President Russell Smith said, “The Board is unanimously excited to work with Kara to help us realize our vision of preserving the past, marking the present and looking to the future of Jewish Washington. Kara’s successful career with the Smithsonian will be an enormous benefit as the Society enters this transformative period. She is the leader we need at this key turning point.”

“I am honored to have been asked to lead the Society and to work with the Board, staff, members, and community to design a new museum from the ground up,” Blond stated. “The Society has been serving Washington with exhibitions and programs for decades, but with the new building, program spaces, and exhibitions telling the story of the Washington Jewish community and its impact on the city and the world, the new Jewish Museum will become an attraction for visitors to Washington from around the world.”

Blond brings nearly 15 years of experience managing complex, transformational exhibitions as part of significant construction projects at major national institutions. At the National Zoo she served as the exhibition developer and project manager on such visitor favorites as the Asia Trail and Elephant Trails. At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where she has served as Director of Exhibitions since 2013, Blond has been responsible for overseeing design and development of experiences across 350,000 square feet of public space. She has overseen more than 30 exhibitions, including the redesign of the National Fossil Hall and the broader Deep Time Initiative. Her work has been recognized with both national and Smithsonian-wide awards.

Blond holds a Master of Arts in Education in Learning, Design and Technology from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a native of the Washington, D.C. area.


Museum of the Southwest – 2017
Midland, TX

Lee Ortega appointed Director

We are pleased to announce that the Museum of the Southwest has appointed as it’s new Executive Director, Ms. Lee Ortega, Founding Executive Director of the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, Arkansas. Ortega begins her new position on June 30, 2017. Museum Search & Reference conducted the national search.

“After a nationwide search, we are delighted to have selected Lee Ortega, a gifted museum director. Lee brings a broad range of experience at three art museums and a prominent New York gallery — experience ranging from opening a new museum on time and on budget to curating exhibitions, fundraising and creating public events,” Board President Dwight Alworth said.

Ortega began her museum career in 1996 as a Curatorial Assistant at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, which holds one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of modern and contemporary art. From there she went to the Annina Nosei Gallery, New York City, a prominent contemporary art gallery, where she was Gallery Director from 1998 to 2003 and worked with many famous artists. She then was appointed Director of Exhibitions at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia. Following that she served as Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, FL until 2010, when she was recruited to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

“At the new Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, which opened its new facility in 2013, she successfully built an audience and membership,” Alworth said. “She was previously Marketing Director for the Bass Museum. Her experience and credentials are an exceptional match to our goals, as we look to renovate our Children’s Museum, expand our audiences and make our Museum even better known. She is fluent in Spanish and has a track record of attracting financial support through both operating and capital gifts.”

Ortega holds a Master of Liberal Arts in Fine Arts from the Harvard University Extension School, Cambridge, MA and received her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the Chamberlayne School of Art and Design at Mount Ida College in Newton, MA.


Ogunquit Museum of American Art – 2016
Ogunquit, ME

Michael Mansfield appointed Director

We are pleased to announce that the Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA) has appointed Michael P. Mansfield, Curator of Film and Media Arts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), as its new Executive Director. Mansfield begins his new position on February 1, 2017. Museum Search & Reference conducted the national search.

“After a nine-month, nationwide search, we have selected an admired curator and administrator from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.,” announced Ogunquit Museum of American Art Board President David J. Mallen. “Michael has organized and overseen a number of initiatives at the Smithsonian, leading both administrative efforts and curatorial programming. His experience and credentials are a perfect match to move our museum forward. Michael established his reputation as one of America’s foremost experts in media art at SAAM, which is known for its excellent collection of American art. He also has a proven track record of attracting financial support through grants and gifts for his projects.”

Mansfield recently oversaw programs spanning a range of thematic and conceptual topics in contemporary art, film, photography, and electronic media. During his tenure he initiated and organized new acquisitions, exhibitions, and stewardship of the electronic and moving image collections.

Mansfield received his B.A. in photography and art history from the University of Houston and he holds an M.A. in digital and electronic media from the Maryland Institute where he was a fellow with the Mount Royal School of Art. In 2007, he was appointed as an associate in the director’s office at the National Museum of Photography in the Czech Republic. He joined the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2008, organized the museum’s Media Art Working Group, and was a founding member of the Smithsonian’s Time Based Media Art Conservation Initiative. In 2009, he established and designed the museum’s first permanent gallery space devoted to moving-image installations, and has curated several major exhibitions in a range of media at the museum.


 Denver Art Museum – 2016
Denver, CO

Victoria Lyall appointed Curator of Pre-Columbian Art

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Victoria Lyall of San Francisco State University as the Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Pre-Columbian Art at the Denver Art Museum, CO. Museum Search & Reference guided on the international search. Lyall will begin her appointment on January 25, 2017.

Lyall, a seasoned former curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), will oversee the DAM’s pre-Columbian art collection, which represents nearly every major culture in Mesoamerica, Central America and South America. She will join Frederick & Jan Mayer Curator of Spanish Colonial Art, Jorge Rivas Pérez, in the museum’s New World department.

Lyall joins the DAM from San Francisco State University’s museum studies program where she has been an associate professor since 2014. Prior to taking the university post, Lyall had a successful 10-year career at LACMA, advancing to the associate curator of art of the Ancient Americas. During her tenure, Lyall oversaw the reinstallation of the Ancient Americas permanent collection galleries and facilitated the development of a Mellon Foundation-funded project, a research institute and a postdoctoral curatorial fellowship dedicated to the Ancient Americas collection.

Lyall has organized exhibitions that have been shown at LACMA, Dallas Museum of Art and the Fowler Museum at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), including The Painted City: Art from Teotihuacan (2015), The Ancient Maya World: Masterworks from the Permanent Collection (2014), Chupícuaro: The Natalie Wood Gift of Ancient Mexican Ceramics (2013) and Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico (2012), which she co-curated with Drs. Virginia Field and John Pohl. Her curatorial research spans the breadth of ancient American cultures from Olmec to 16th century Tenochtitlan and Cuzco. A former Fulbright scholar, Lyall conducted extensive fieldwork in southern Mexico, particularly in the Yucatan peninsula, on 9th and 10th century murals, and has traveled extensively throughout Latin America.

Lyall earned her Ph.D. in pre-Columbian art history from UCLA, a Master of Fine Arts in art history from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Arts in history of art and anthropology from Yale University. She will take on her role as the new Frederick & Jan Mayer Curator of Pre-Columbian Art on Jan. 25, 2017.


Old Salem Museums & Gardens – 2016
Winston-Salem, NC

Franklin Vagnone appointed President and CEO

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Franklin Vagnone as the President and CEO of Old Salem Museums & Gardens, Winston-Salem, NC, which includes the Historic Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, and the Gardens at Old Salem. Museum Search & Reference conducted the national search.

An internationally renowned thinker, writer, and consultant in the fields of historic preservation and museums, Vagnone is best known as the co-author of The Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums, an influential book. Since 2000, Vagnone also has been the founder and president of Twisted Preservation Cultural Consulting in New York City.

Vagnone served as Executive Director of the Historic House Trust in New York City from 2009-2016, overseeing the operations of 23 house museums. During his tenure, he expanded audiences through innovative program initiatives and dramatically improved the Trust’s finances through successful fundraising events, new grants, and by cultivating support from individuals and corporate sponsors.

From 2006-2009 he served as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks. The Society received numerous awards under his leadership for its educational programs and extensive walking tours. From 1998 to 2006, he was Executive Director of Historic Preservation and Operations at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral Complex in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. During his tenure, he oversaw the conservation and care of religious buildings and an extensive landscape, and he built the complex’s audience from 13,000 to 45,000 annual visitors.

Vagnone received a Master’s of Architecture degree from Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, New York City. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Vagnone spent his teen years in Charlotte and has family there. He will relocate to Winston-Salem in early 2017, and will live in the oldest standing house in Old Salem (circa 1768) with his partner Johnny Yeagley.


The Menokin Foundation – 2016
Warsaw, PA

Samuel McKelvey appointed Executive Director

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Samuel McKelvey of Richmond, Virginia as the Executive Director of The Menokin Foundation, Warsaw, VA. Museum Search & Reference conducted the national search.

McKelvey previously served as Site Manager for Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park, an 1860 living-history farm site and museum. During his tenure at Meadow Farm, McKelvey significantly updated the site’s programs and re-interpreted a number of tours, bringing in new audiences, growing attendance, and making the site relevant to a new generation of students, families, and tourists.

McKelvey also served as a Recreation Program Coordinator for the 150-acre site, which rests under the purview of Henrico County’s Division of Recreation and Parks. He managed and developed a wide range of outdoor opportunities and experiences for the park’s thousands of annual visitors, including fishing, hiking and nature trails, picnicking, play areas, seasonal festivals.

McKelvey received his BA in History and Geography from James Madison University and his MA in History from Virginia Commonwealth University.

McKelvey is an avid champion of community storytelling and bringing history to life. In 2014, he led the planning and execution of a 3-day re-enactment of the Battle of New Market Heights which brought 5,000 people to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle in which African-American soldiers from the “U.S. Colored Troops” won largely on their own their first significant battle.


Amon Carter Museum of American Art – 2016
Fort Worth, TX

Brett Abbott appointed Director of Collections & Exhibitions

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Brett Abbott as the Director of Collections & Exhibitions of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX. Museum Search & Reference conducted the national search.

Abbott, a specialist in American photography of the 20th and 21st centuries, comes to the Amon Carter from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta where he has served as Keough Family Curator of Photography and Head of Collections since 2011. He will join the staff at the Amon Carter in late October.

Abbott will provide leadership and vision for four pivotal Amon Carter departments, including Curatorial, Conservation, Exhibition Design and Preparations Services, and Registration.

 In his more than five years at the High, Abbott has grown the photography collection by 2,000 prints, stewarded more than 20 installations, and overseen the development of the museum’s collection acquisitions, care and access programs. His honors include the 2012 Ansel Adams Fellowship from the Center for Creative Photography for his research on Wynn Bullock, the 2010 Lucie Award for Curator of the Year for the landmark exhibition Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties and the 2007 Lucie Award for Curator of the Year for his work on Edward Weston.

Abbott served as associate curator at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles for nine years in the department of photographs prior to joining the High. He is a graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute’s Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders and also served as a curatorial intern at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Abbott earned his Master of Arts from Williams College and Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, both in Art History.

Chester County Historical Society – 2016
West Chester, PA

Elizabeth M. Laurent appointed President

The Chester County Historical Society has appointed Elizabeth M. Laurent to be its new president, effective July 25, 2016. Board Chair George C. Zumbano, Esq. said “We are delighted to have selected from a national field of candidates a history-museum leader with exceptional professional experience. She will oversee a complete new installation of our galleries opening in 2017 and public programming to further expand our audiences.”

Laurent has been director of historic resources at Girard College in Philadelphia since 2008, previously serving as associate director since 2000, and originally as consulting curator of the Stephen Girard Collection.  During her tenure, she reinterpreted and updated the school’s museum, making it relevant to new generations of students, as well as visiting scholars and tourists.

“Her successful work at Girard with next-generation and diverse audiences is rare in the history field and will make her an exceptional person to implement our strategic plan,” Zumbano said. “She also has a track record of attracting financial support through grants and gifts to her projects.” The recent restoration of the monumental Founder’s Hall north and south doors won a 2016 Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia Grand Jury Achievement Award.

“I am honored to lead the Chester County Historical Society, one of the flagship county museums in the nation,” Laurent said. “Although I have enjoyed my time at Girard, when I was recruited for this position, I could not resist. I look forward to working with the board, staff, volunteers, members, and the broader community and to becoming a part of the Chester County Community.”

Laurent received a master’s degree from the Winterthur Program in early American culture at the University of Delaware. She holds a BA in history and art history from Williams College, Williamstown, MA.  She served as a trustee of the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, and has served on advisory committees in Virginia and Philadelphia.  She is active with the Society of Winterthur Fellows alumni group.

Laurent succeeds Rob Lukens, who was CCHS president from 2011 until his death in August 2015, following a long illness. David B. Reinfeld, vice president for development, has been serving as interim president.


Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm – 2016
Tamworth, NH

Cara Sutherland appointed Executive Director

Cara Sutherland has been appointed Executive Director of the Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm, Tamworth, NH. She began work on April 1, 2016.  Sutherland was Executive Director of the Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art in Scranton, PA, and she brings a wide range of experience at history museums, large and small, encompassing 14 years of experience as a museum director. She previously directed a regional maritime museum, the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum in Virginia from 2002- 2004. Earlier, Ms. Sutherland worked in New York City for the Freedom Forum as Consulting Curator of the First Amendment Center from 2000-2002 and as Curator and Exhibit Developer at the Newseum in Arlington, VA from 1996-2000. She began her curatorial career at the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, MA as Curator of Exhibitions from 1990-1995.

A native of New York’s Champlain Valley near the Québec border, Ms. Sutherland wanted to be closer to family in a more northern and rural environment, and found Tamworth a location that felt like home. Her interest in historic textiles led her into the museum field and her current passion is traditional foodways. She enjoys artisanal canning and food preservation, winning ribbons at fairs, most recently at the 2016 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Perfect for a doctor museum & farm, Sutherland pursued doctoral studies at SUNY Binghamton and has a special interest in medical history. She holds an M.A. in American Social & Cultural History from the University of Delaware where she was a Hagley Fellow, 1982-1984. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Mount Holyoke College, 1981. Ms. Sutherland is a published author, taught college-level courses in Public History, and has presented at many East Coast professional conferences.


Ellen Noël Art Museum – 2015
of the Permian Basin
Odessa, Texas

Sheila Perry appointed Executive Director

Chrysler Museum of Art (CMOA) – 2015
Norfolk, VA

Lloyd DeWitt appointed Chief Curator and Irene Leache Curator of European Art


New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA) – 2015
New Britain, CT

Min Jung Kim appointed Director


University of Nebraska State Museum – 2015
Lincoln, NE

Susan Weller, Ph.D. appointed Director

Haggerty Museum of Art – 2015
Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Susan Longhenry appointed Director


Denver Art Museum – 2015
Denver, CO

 Rebecca Hart appointed
Polly & Mark Addison Curator of Modern & Contemporary


Denver Art Museum – 2015
Denver, CO

Tianlong Jiao, Ph.D. appointed Curator of Asian art

Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) – 2015
Salem, MA

Sarah Kennel, Ph.D. appointed Curator of Photography

The Taft Museum of Art – 2014
Cincinnati, Ohio

Timothy Paul Brown appointed Director of Education


Columbus Museum – 2014
Columbus, Georgia

Marianne Richter appointed Director


Boston Children’s Museum – 2014
Boston, MA

 Alexander Goldowsky appointed Senior Vice President, Exhibits and Programs


Grand Rapids Museum of Art – 2014
Grand Rapids, MI

Ron Platt appointed Chief Curator

Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation – 2013
Williamsburg, VA

Peter Armstrong appointed Senior Director of Museum Operations & Education


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – 2013
Boston, MA

Christina Nielsen, Ph.D. appointed the William and Lia Poorvu Curator of the Collection and Director of Program Planning


Allentown Art Museum – 2013
Allentown, PA

David Mickenberg appointed President and CEO


Wright Museum of WWII History – 2013
Wolfeboro, NH

Dr. Michael Culver appointed Executive Director


Holland Historical Trust – 2013
Holland, MI

Christopher Shires appointed Executive Director


Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium – 2013
St. Johnsbury, Vermont

Adam Kane appointed Executive Director


The Hyde Collection – 2013
Glens Falls, New York

Charles Guerin appointed Director


Peabody Essex Museum – 2013
Salem, MA

Austen Barron Bailly appointed Curator of American Art


Fitchburg Art Museum – 2012
Fitchburg, MA

Nicholas “Nick” Capasso appointed director


National Music Museum – 2012
at the University of South Dakota
Vermillion, SD

Cleveland T. Johnson, Ph.D. appointed Director


Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Phillips Academy – 2012
Andover, MA

Ryan J. Wheeler appointed Director


Elliott Museum – 2012
Stuart, FL

Jennifer Esler appointed President/CEO


Mattatuck Museum  – 2012
Waterbury, CT

Robert Burns appointed Executive Director


Telfair Museum of Art – 2011
Savannah, Georgia

Lisa Grove appointed Director/CEO


Chrysler Museum of Art – 2011
Norfolk, Virginia

Susan Leidy appointed Deputy Director for Collections & Exhibitions


Canterbury Shaker Village – 2011
Canterbury, New Hampshire

Sally Stanton appointed Director of Development


Penobscot Marine Museum – 2011
5 Church Street, Searsport, Maine

Elizabeth Lodge appointed Executive Director


Forbes House Museum – 2010*
215 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts 02186

Robin Tagliaferri appointed Director

*MS&R assisted with their internal search


Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design – 2010
224 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903

Donna Desrochers appointed as Director of Marketing


Farnsworth Art Museum – 2009
16 Museum Street, Rockland, ME 04841

Christopher J. Brownawell appointed Executive Director


Peabody Essex Museum – 2009
161 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts 01970

Michelle Moon appointed Assistant Director of Education for Adult Programs


Hill-Stead Museum – 2008
35 Mountain Road, Farmington, CT 06032

Sue Sturtevant, Ed.D., appointed Executive Director


Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design – 2008
224 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903

Sarah Ganz Blythe, Ph.D., appointed Director of Education


Kalamazoo Institute of Arts – 2008
314 South Park Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Vicki Wright appointed Director of Collections and Exhibitions


Peabody Essex Museum – 2008
161 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts 01970

1) Phillip Prodger appointed Curator of Photography.
2) Trevor Smith appointed Curator of Contemporary Art