A Midwesterner is headed home to be the new CEO of the Taft Museum of Art.
The Taft’s board named Rebekah (Becky) Beaulieu as the museum’s next Louise Taft Semple President and CEO. She starts her new role Sept. 19.
Beaulieu is currently the director of the Florence Griswold Museum, a national historic landmark in Old Lyme, Conn. – a 7,500-population coastal town about halfway between Boston and New York City.
“We are delighted to welcome Becky as the next president and CEO of the Taft, and excited to have her and her husband Patrick become part of our vibrant community in Cincinnati,” said Jill McGruder, the Taft board’s vice chair. “Becky will bring her impressive skills in community engagement, staff support and financial management to the museum at an important moment in its history, having recently celebrated our bicentennial and preservation of our landmark home.”
Beaulieu succeeds Deborah Emont Scott, who announced last August that she would retire after 12 years as the Taft’s top executive. The Taft’s chief operating officer, Lindsey NeCamp had been named interim director as of July 1.
Beaulieu has been the leader at the Connecticut museum for a little less than five years. She told local media there she wasn’t looking for a new job, but was contacted by the search firm and is excited about getting closer to family in the Midwest.
She took over at the Griswold from a leader who had been with the museum for more than 40 years. She’ll be taking over Taft’s $6.5 million annual operating budget and overseeing 80 employees – more than twice the size of Griswold.
She joins the organization as it enjoys a lift from its “Love This House” $12.7 million capital campaign. The museum has invested in upgraded security and fire protection and several other critical improvements. Important to the integrity of the 200-year-old home, 70 percent of the original wood siding of the house has been preserved, and enhanced climate control and a fortified foundation can now effectively preserve the house and the artwork it contains. As the Taft preserved the infrastructure of the Taft historic house, a fresh look was also taken inside. After nearly two years away, the Taft’s permanent collection has been reinstalled and re-interpreted for the first time in over 15 years for the home’s 200th birthday and the museum’s 90th anniversary.
Beaulieu also serves as an accreditation commissioner for the American Alliance of Museums, as the vice president of the New England Museum Association and as the treasurer of the American Association for State and Local History.
Beaulieu’s work has received recognition as the author of Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and Endowment Essentials for Museums (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022).
Raised in Milwaukee, Beaulieu earned a doctorate from Boston University in American and New England Studies with her dissertation on Historic House Museums and America’s Urban Midwest. Beaulieu also holds a masters in art history and museum studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a masters in arts administration from Columbia University and a bachelors in American studies from the George Washington University.
In addition to her current roles, she has also held positions at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (Brunswick, Maine), the Milwaukee County Historical Society (Milwaukee) and Lookingglass Theatre Co. (Chicago).
A board-appointed selection committee conducted a nationwide search, retaining executive search consultants Museum Search & Reference LLC.