New Leaders Join Archives, Portrait Gallery and Cooper-Hewitt
Three new museum directors have joined the Smithsonian this year.
Kim Sajet started as Director of the National Portrait Gallery on April 1. Sajet (pronounced Sayet) aims to make the Gallery known as the place that sparks thought and conversation and includes the audience as an active participant in defining American identity through portraiture and biography. She was formerly president and chief executive officer of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (2007-2012) and prior to that held leadership positions with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and two Australian art museums. She received a masters degree in art history from Bryn Mawr College, was born in Nigeria and raised in Australia and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in that country. Sajet succeeds Martin Sullivan, who stepped down in 2011 due to health concerns.
Kate Haw became director of the Archives of American Art on May 27. Haw will build the Archives’ collections, placing focus on the 1960s and 1970s while engaging artists coming of age today, and work to put millions more documents online for researchers around the world to access. She was previously vice president for development at the National Building Museum (2011-2013), executive director for development and administration at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2006-2011) and held several leadership positions at the American Federation of Arts in New York (2000-2006). She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and religion from Sweet Briar College in Virginia and a master’s degree in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Haw succeeds Liza Kirwin, who has served as interim director of the Archives since 2011 when Director John W. Smith resigned.
Caroline Baumann became Director of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, on June 16, succeeding director Bill Moggridge, who died in September 2012. She leads the nation’s design museum into a new chapter in its history, transforming the visitor experience and strengthening America's understanding of the power of design. Immediate priorities are overseeing the museum’s renovation and reinstallation of its galleries in preparation of the fall 2014 reopening. Baumann joined the Cooper-Hewitt in 2001 and served as acting director, associate director and deputy director prior to her new position. Previously she was with the Museum of Modern Art, the Calhoun School and in publishing. She holds a master’s degree in medieval art from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Bates College.