Newark Museum chooses new director

File photos Linda Harrison.

The Newark Museum has named a new director and CEO, who will take the reins of the organization in January.

Linda Harrison, director and CEO of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco since 2013, will become the eighth director of the Newark institution. She succeeds Steven Kern, who left the museum in 2017.

“We are excited to have someone with Linda’s proven strengths in organizational and strategic planning join us,” board co-Chair Christine Gilfillan said in a prepared statement. “Under Linda’s leadership, MoAD presented a wide range of programs and exhibitions that engaged its community, resulting in significant increases in fundraising and attendance.”

Harrison has more than 20 years of leadership experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, the museum said, including executive positions at Fortune 500 companies.

“I’m thrilled to join the Newark Museum family to implement a bold transformation/agenda that lock-steps with the city of Newark’s revitalization of the downtown district,” she said in a statement. “The museum will be the city’s hub, where art, science, race and culture will ignite compassionate conversations. I’m looking forward to forging dynamic partnerships with the business, civic and cultural organizations that will make us a destination city for arts, education and entertainment. I’m committed to creating a culture of access and inclusion, activating the beautiful buildings, collections and grounds of the museum.”

The museum had been led by interim co-Directors Deborah Kasindorf and Ulysses Grant Dietz since Kern’s departure, and conducted a national search that resulted in Harrison’s appointment. Isaacson, Miller, a national recruitment firm, assisted with the search.

“(She) is joining the museum during an incredible time of transformation for both the institution and the city of Newark,” co-Chair Clifford Blanchard said in a statement. “We see all around us how the neighborhood is changing quickly to accommodate its renewed development and growth. With Linda at the helm, the Newark Museum will continue to grow in its role as both a cultural and community anchor.”