Taubman’s New Director Sees “Tremendous” Potential

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David Mickenburg

David Mickenburg
David Mickenburg

The Taubman Museum of Art’s long search for a new executive director has ended with the appointment of David Mickenburg. He replaces the now-retired Georganne Bingham, who shepherded the museum as it moved from Center in the Square into the new $66 million dollar facility.  Introduced by Paul Frantz, president of the Taubman’s Board of Trustees, as someone with the “background, vision and experience needed,” Mickenburg has the combination of curatorial experience and fundraising acumen the board was apparently looking for.

Mickenburg comes to Roanoke from the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, where he served as director from 2001-2008. He resigned when a painting valued at two million dollars went missing on his watch, but Taubman board members said they were confident they had found the right man.

The Taubman has suffered to some extent from declining attendance figures since it opened last November, leading to several rounds of layoffs.  Mickenburg lauded the current staff for their work to date in brief remarks and pledged to work together with other cultural institutions in the valley. He cited the “enormous potential,” that still lies ahead for the Roanoke cultural icon but said he needs “several months to wrap [himself]” around the Taubman’s current financial state before commenting in detail on that aspect.

“He knows what it will take to operate and manage all of the varied components that comprise the Taubman,” said John Williamson III, who co-chaired the search committee.  Mickenburg’s success at raising 10.5 million dollars at the Davis Museum for programming and acquisition needs was one factor in his favor; he also started a student exchange program with the renowned Louvre Museum in Paris, an effort that helped raise the Davis Museum’s visibility and expand its collection.

Mickenburg previously  served as the director of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum at Northwestern University and led a campaign that helped open a new facility there in 2000. As for the Taubman, Mickenburg said, “I believe that the potential for tremendous success exists.” He started work here immediately; his family will follow at a later date.

By Gene Marrano
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