“John Wetenhall will take the lead in shaping a new kind of museum for GW. This is a one-of-a-kind partnership and we are confident that he will create a cultural destination that will be a leader in academic and cultural communities in D.C. and around the world,” said Steven Lerman, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs for George Washington.
“His accomplishments in both the academic and artistic fields make him the ideal person to connect the strong traditions of scholarship and art in the new museum.”
Dr. Wetenhall, a highly regarded leader in the museum field, was named director following a ten-month national and international search by representatives of the George Washington University and The Textile Museum.
He previously served in executive leadership roles at the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla.; and the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville. Dr. Wetenhall is an experienced fundraiser having directed multi-million dollar capital campaign projects. His experience extends to four major museum building projects, with such architects and firms as Edward Larrabee Barnes, Graham Gund, Herzog & DeMeuron and HOK.
“John Wetenhall has the background to blend business and art, which are key needs for 21st-century museums,” said Bruce P. Baganz, president of The Textile Museum Board of Trustees.
“With his broad experience in the museum field, tremendous stature and entrepreneurial approach, we are positive that John will steer the new museum into an era that takes full advantage of the artistic, cultural, academic and technological assets that this partnership provides. His experience in successfully transitioning The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art to Florida State University is a testament to his ability to introduce the key strengths of The Textile Museum to the campus community.”
The new museum at GW will include dedicated galleries and increased exhibition space for The Textile Museum, the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection and the university’s art collections. Exhibitions and programs will be presented to the public and will involve GW faculty and students in academic collaborations.
“The Textile Museum is internationally respected for its global collection, important exhibitions and scholarly publications. The George Washington University is renowned for its outstanding programs in museum studies and museum education, as well as its rich collection documenting the nation’s capital,” said Dr. Wetenhall.
“The new museum creates at once a campus laboratory for museum training and innovation, while also presenting important art and historical artifacts of profound importance to both Washington, D.C. and the world. This is a magnificent professional opportunity and a chance to contribute meaningfully to the museum field.”
The Textile Museum
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