The Academy Art Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Benjamin T. Simons of Washington, DC as its new director. Most recently, Simons served as Capital Campaign Major Gifts Officer for Smithsonian American Art Museum/Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.
In addition to development experience, Simons has curatorial expertise and experience with museum accreditation. From 2006 until 2013 Simons served as chief curator and senior management member of Nantucket Historical Association, an American Alliance of Museums-accredited museum and campus of historic properties with a $5.3 million budget. He has a Master’s Degree in History of Art from Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and also a master’s degree from Yale University and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University. In addition, he has attended Getty Leadership Institute for museum professionals in Claremont, CA. Simons has written two books on private collections of maritime art and authored several collections and exhibition catalogues, as well as served as editor of the award-winning quarterly Historic Nantucket.
Carolyn Williams, Chair of Academy Art Museum’s Board of Trustees, comments, “We are thrilled to announce that the Museum has hired Ben Simons as its director. We are looking forward to his leadership as we participate in reaccreditation by American Alliance of Museums.” She adds, “For more than 40 years, the American Alliance of Museum’s Accreditation Program has been recognized as the ‘gold standard’ of museum excellence. The Academy Art Museum is one of fewer than 5 percent of American museums accredited by the AAM. Our twin mission of arts education and exhibition of world class art will be well served by Ben.”
Simons and his wife are natives of Washington, DC. His wife, Alison Cooley, is a practicing artist and they have a six-year-old son, Finley.
Simons comments, “We are all looking for ways to live more deeply, more imaginatively, and even more adventurously. The whole program of the Academy Art Museum allows residents and visitors to engage with art at the highest levels.” He adds, “I am passionate about the idea that art is central to our lives, and it's a thrilling opportunity to lead the Museum, an institution that has that belief at the heart of its mission. I can't wait to explore ways to make the Museum’s offerings even more vital to the cultural life of the region where natural beauty, a love of the arts, and a thriving non-profit culture enhance and enrich the lives of all residents and visitors.”
Simons will begin work on October 3, 2016. Doing so will allow Simons a month of overlap with incumbent director, Dennis McFadden, to ensure an orderly transition before McFadden's resignation takes effect on November 1.