Anne Hawley, whose 25 years of leadership transformed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
, ensuring its continued relevance and vibrancy in the twenty-first century, announced today that she will step down as the Museums director at the end of the year.
Hawley, who became the Gardner Museums fourth director in September 1989, made it her mission to ensure that the institution would not only preserve Mrs. Gardners extraordinary collection, but also serve as a dynamic cultural resource for artists, musicians, scholars, visitors, and the Greater Boston community, just as it did in Mrs. Gardners day.
Anne is the rare talent with the skill and vision it took to lead the Gardner Museum into the future while honoring Mrs. Gardners legacy, said Steve Kidder, president of the Gardner Museums board of trustees. By attracting a world-class curatorial team and establishing a strong and expanded board of trustees, Anne has breathed new life into the Gardner Museum and positioned us well for the next century.
Hawley mounted scholarly exhibitions, originating with art from the collections; created an artists-in-residence program and showcased the artists work; established new programs in music, education, and landscape; oversaw the modernization of essential infrastructure in the historic palace; and led the effort to build the Museums new wing, which opened to the public in 2012. She put the Museum on solid financial footing, recruited an exceptionally talented staff, and revamped the stewardship of the Museum by expanding the board of trustees and creating a board of overseers.
The Gardner Museum was never intended simply to be a repository for Mrs. Gardners collection, said Hawley. It is meant to be a place bursting with life, stirring the imagination, unleashing creativity. It must be a lively center of art and culture, a place of learning for students, a patron for artists, musicians, and scholars. Today, thanks to the efforts of an incredible staff and dedicated trustees and overseers, the Museum fulfills Mrs. Gardners vision while embracing the present and the future with hope.
Today the Gardner is a museum where one can find the quiet sanctuary of the courtyard garden with its antiquities and flowers, experience the world-class collections, or engage with the exhibitions, concerts, and artists projects and provocations.
The Museums board of trustees has formed a committee to conduct an international search for a new director. Board member Barbara Hostetter, who served as president of the board for 10 years, will chair the search committee.