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Morris Museum announces appointment of Cleveland T. Johnson as Executive Director
Dr. Cleveland Johnson is the immediate past Director of the National Music Museum. Photo: Emanuele Marconi.

MORRISTOWN, NJ.- The Board of Trustees of the Morris Museum today announced that Cleveland T. Johnson has been named the institution’s new Executive Director. Mr. Johnson will assume his post on November 1, 2017.

Dr. Cleveland Johnson is the immediate past Director of the National Music Museum (NMM). He is Professor Emeritus and past Dean of the School of Music (DePauw University, Greencastle IN) and a former Executive Director of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship at the Thomas J. Watson Foundation (New York, NY). Mr. Johnson holds the B. Mus from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the D.Phil. from Oxford University.

As an academic, he devoted himself to the advancement of music in general studies, in addition to his specialties in the keyboard music of the German Baroque and the music of South India. His scholarship was funded by such organizations as the American Institute of Indian Studies, ASIANetwork, DAAD, Lilly, Mellon, NEH, and Watson.

At the National Music Museum, following in the footsteps of a founding director of almost 40 years, he worked to build a high-functioning institution to support the priceless collection of rare musical instruments assembled by his predecessor. He broadened the NMM’s reputation through national media attention (New York Times, Weekly Standard, NPR, Google Cultural Institute, Associated Press, From the Top) and external loans in Germany, England, Belgium and major US cities.
He transformed a modest concert series into NMM LIVE!, a mission-driven performing-arts showcase of major performers, highlighting the NMM's collections, and he inaugurated NMM LIVE! at the Movies, bringing films with great film scores or music themes to the big screen of the downtown cinema (thanks to a partnership with a local non-profit cinema organization). He also brought the NMM into the Smithsonian Affiliates program.

At the Morris Museum, although Mr. Johnson will continue to work with musical instruments – thanks to the Morris’ important Guinness Collection of mechanical musical instruments and automata – he will have supervision of the museum’s diverse, general collections. “My background is far broader than my professional résumé might reveal,” Johnson says. “My parents were educators. I grew up with the menagerie of animals that my mother used in her forty-some years as a first-grade teacher. As a kid, I hunted fossils in the sand pits formed from building the new US interstate system, I ground my own telescope mirror, and photographed the transit of Mercury and the total solar eclipse in 1970. High-school physics got me interested in the acoustics of organ pipes, the beginning of a passion that led me to change direction almost overnight, from wanting to study astrophysics at college to wanting to study music performance at conservatory.”

Johnson further shared, “After my experience at an institution that had a national reach, but a small local base, I’m looking forward to the Morris Museum with its deep local roots of over a century and its devotion to the community. I’m enthusiastic to work with the Morris Museum Board of Trustees and staff to define how we can serve that community even better in the years ahead.”

“It is a pleasure to welcome Cleveland to the Morris Museum as its new Executive Director,” said Gerri Horn, Chair of the Board and a member of the search committee that selected Mr. Johnson. “I am confident his experience in museum leadership, education, music, the arts, and grant-making - coupled with his engaging personality - will serve our institution exceptionally well for years to come.”

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