Send: Fri, Apr 12, 2019 2:39 pm
Subject: Bennington Museum ED Takes New Position at Bruce Museum
Bennington Museum Executive Director Takes New Position at Bruce Museum
BENNINGTON, VT, April 12, 2019 – The Board of Trustees of Bennington Museum announces that current Executive Director Robert Wolterstorff will be leaving his position with the Museum to become The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, on June 1. Wolterstorff has served as the Executive Director of the Bennington Museum since summer of 2012.
Edie Sawitsky, Bennington Museum Board Chair said, “We are incredibly grateful for Robert’s leadership, during a transformative period in the museum’s history. He established Bennington Modernism as a central part of the Museum’s mission and oversaw the creation of important new galleries—a new Works on Paper Gallery to showcase photography and fine prints, and two history galleries, Early Vermont and Gilded Age Vermont. But the most important thing under his leadership was the edgy exhibition program. The Alice Neel show in 2014 and Milton Avery in 2016 brought national attention to the Museum. That led to more visitors, new energy, increased support, and fiscal stability. We are really sorry to lose him, but we understand it’s a chance to move up, and wish him all the best!”
Wolterstorff said, “It’s very hard to leave Bennington right now, because I see such incredible potential just ahead for the town and the Museum. The Putnam Project is breaking ground and is going to transform the heart of Bennington. Anchoring the western end of Main Street, the Museum is poised for some really exciting changes too. Opportunities come when you least expect. The only thing that could have drawn me away right now is the unique opportunity the Bruce Museum put before me to be part of creating a new museum, with a new building, significant collections coming in, and new ways it will relate to its community. It’s an opportunity to lead a larger institution, and to continue my own personal development in the museum field. I like new challenges, and I’m looking forward to this one.”
During Wolterstorff’s tenure, Bennington Museum received national accolades for exhibitions like Alice Neel/Erastus Salisbury Field in 2014, Milton Avery’s Vermont in 2016, and Grandma Moses: American Modern, in 2017. The museum joined with MASS MoCA, the Clark Art Institute, the Williams College Museum of Art, and Williamstown Theatre Festival to form a consortium called ArtCountry which does combined marketing to bring visitors to the northern Berkshires and southern Vermont. An economic impact study in 2018 found that Bennington Museum brings close to $5M in new economic activity into the local community each year.
Wolterstorff said, “I’m leaving with the Museum on a solid footing and with a great staff and dedicated trustees here. It’s a fabulous museum in a wonderful part of the world. I’m confident they will attract a dynamic director to lead them into the future.”
The Bennington Museum Board of Trustees has established a Director Search Committee. The Board expects to appoint an Acting Director before Wolterstorff’s departure in May, and then will begin a nationwide search for the next permanent Executive Director.
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