Taft Museum CEO joins board for American Alliance of Museums

The president and CEO of the Taft Museum of Art is among the newest members of the board of directors for the American Alliance of Museums.

On Thursday, the Arlington, Va.-based organization announced that Rebekah Beaulieu was one of the six museum professionals elected to the board. The group’s three-year term begins in May and expires in 2027.

Beaulieu is the only current board member representing an Ohio institution.

“Membership in AAM has been essential to my development as a museum professional,” Beaulieu wrote in a statement about her new position. “To be a part of its leadership is an honor, as well as a charge to represent the interests of the Taft and other small and midsized museums at the highest level.”

Rebekah Beaulieu

Beaulieu came to Cincinnati in July 2022 to take over as the Taft’s top executive. She succeeded Deborah Emont Scott who retired after 12 years in the role.

Today, the Taft is a truly unique art museum, holding National Historic Landmark status for both its historic house and Duncanson murals. The 200-year-old museum house holds a collection that spans the Middle Ages through the 19th century.

Prior to arriving in the Queen City, Beaulieu had worked in museums for two decades, previously serving as the director of the Florence Griswold Museum in Connecticut, as associate director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine and as an assistant professor of art history and museum studies at Connecticut College.

Beaulieu is also no stranger to the American Alliance of Museums. She recently concluded a five-year term on the organization’s accreditation commission and a four-year term as a council member of the American Association for State and Local History, where she served as treasurer.

Supporting museums of all types, sizes

The American Alliance of Museums is the only organization representing the entire museum field, from art and history museums to science centers and zoos. Since 1906, the AAM has championed museums through advocacy and providing museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration and connections they need to move the field forward.

At its most recent meeting, the organization welcomed five other new members. They include Ellen Ferguson, director of community relations at the Burke Museum of Natural and Cultural History in Seattle; Lori Fogarty, executive director of the Oakland Museum of California; Hassan Najjar, executive director of Foothills Art Center in Golden, Colo.; Jennifer Ortiz, director of the Utah Historical Society in Salt Lake City; and Jay Xu, director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

The board also welcomed the return of four board members for their second terms:

  • Dina Bailey, CEO of Mountain Top Vision
  • Carole Charnow, president & CEO of Boston Children’s Museum
  • Ann Friedman, founder and CEO of Planet Word
  • Linda Harrison, director and CEO of The Newark Museum of Art.

The board also consists of chair Jorge Zamanillo, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino, and immediate past chair Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. They’ll both serve in their current board leadership roles through May 2025.

Devon Akmon will serve as vice Chair and Secretary for the one-year term, while Linda Harrison is the new treasurer. Akmon is director of the Michigan State University Museum and CoLab Studio. Harrison is director and CEO The Newark Museum of Art.

American Alliance of Museums

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