June 23, 2024


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Sean Decatur to Lead NYC’s American Museum of Natural History

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Sean Decatur to Lead NYC’s American Museum of Natural History

Sean Decatur, the president of Ohio’s Kenyon College, will be the upcoming director of New York’s American Museum of Purely natural Heritage (AMNH), generating him the very first Black person to direct the institution. In April, Decatur will consider around from Ellen Futter, who has been at the helm of the AMNH given that 1993, a job that created her the very first woman to direct a main New York Town museum.

Decatur has been president of Kenyon due to the fact 2013, and prior to assuming leadership of the Ohio liberal arts school, he labored as a professor of biophysical chemistry. This will be his initial time presiding over a museum.

“I sense as if all the things I’ve accomplished in daily life has led up to the tremendous privilege, obligation, and option of heading the American Museum of All-natural Record,” Decatur mentioned in an AMNH assertion now, December 7. He additional that the museum is all set to deal with the following “crucial troubles,” which he mentioned include things like “everything from scientific investigation to supporting community education, and to increasing accessibility.”

The Roosevelt statue outdoors AMNH splashed with purple paint in an motion by the Monument Elimination Brigade in 2017 (courtesy of the Monument Removal Brigade)

The very last couple of yrs have not been with out controversy at the museum, wherever Decatur will inherit a history of workforce struggles. In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, practically 50 % of the museum’s personnel was affected by layoffs and furloughs. Two yrs later on, citing a deficiency of occupation protection and lower shell out, AMNH staff voted to unionize, and more than 100 workers joined their 78 colleagues who have been previously associates of Community 1559 chapter of DC 37.

And in January, the establishment last but not least taken off the racist Theodore Roosevelt statue that prolonged stood outside its entrance, a bronze sculpture that depicted the former US president flanked by two smaller Black and Indigenous figures. The statue, erected in 1940, was a place of rivalry for decades and continuously doused with faux blood in protests likely as significantly back again as the 1970s.

Even soon after the sculpture was taken out, criticism arose over its intended desired destination. The work would vacation to the privately funded Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, near Roosevelt’s previous ranch and namesake nationwide park, elements of which encompass land taken from the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) people in the mid-19th century. Protestors named for the statue to as a substitute be wrecked.

Decatur will assume his new publish in April 2023.

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