Lynda Roscoe Hartigan named Executive Director and CEO of the Peabody Essex Museum
Released April 22, 2021
First woman director of the nation's oldest continuously operating museum brings excellence in innovation and engagement to role
SALEM, MA — The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) today announces that Lynda Roscoe Hartigan will become PEM’s next Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Executive Director and CEO. Hartigan will assume her role on August 23, 2021 and become the first woman director of the nation’s oldest continuously operating museum.
Currently the Deputy Director for Collections & Research and Chief Innovation Officer at Canada’s largest and most visited museum, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Hartigan brings unparalleled organizational experience, a track record of excellence, and a progressive vision to advance PEM as a vital and positive force in people’s lives.
“We are thrilled to have Lynda at the helm, leading PEM boldly into the future,” said Stuart W. Pratt, Chair of PEM’s Board of Trustees. “As the Museum emerges from the pandemic and what has been the most extraordinary chapter in its 221-year history, Lynda’s leadership will provide a collaborative, confident spirit and an expansive vision for our staff, supporters, and community at large.”
Appointed as PEM's first Chief Curator in 2003 and rising to Deputy Director in 2016, Hartigan led an ambitious, award-winning curatorial and exhibition program and reimagined the museum's exhibition, publishing, and collection strategies. She oversaw the interpretation and reinstallation of PEM’s 40,000-square-foot wing that opened in 2019 and was integral to developing and advancing the museum’s collection stewardship, fundraising, education, digital, and global leadership initiatives.
“It is a tremendous honor to lead PEM, an organization whose focus on the potential of creativity, cultural understanding, and innovation are more relevant and needed than ever,” says Hartigan. “This is a pivotal moment for museums to stimulate conversation and connection with empathy and courage. I am passionate about ensuring that PEM welcomes all people to explore our shared humanity through the power of the arts and cultural expression.”
The leading scholar on American artist Joseph Cornell, Hartigan specializes in American art, especially modern, folk, and Black artists, yielding numerous widely recognized exhibitions and publications. Prior to joining PEM, Hartigan was Chief Curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., where she built internationally recognized collections by American Black and folk artists and led a major acquisitions initiative for modern and contemporary art.
Hartigan holds a B.A. in art history from Bucknell University and an M.A. in art history from George Washington University and attended the Getty Leadership Institute. Currently, she is a board member of the Association of Art Museum Curators.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum / Photo by Alex Paul.
ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM
Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming, and community and virtual events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present, and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum's collection is among the finest of its kind, with superlative works from around the globe and across time — including American art and architecture, fashion and design, photography, and African, Asian, contemporary, maritime, Native American, and Oceanic art, as well as one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. PEM's campus offers a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-two noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States. HOURS: Open Thursdays-Sundays and holiday Mondays, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $18; students $12. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $6 (plus museum admission). Members, youth 16 and under, and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit pem.org