The Board of Trustees of the Museum of the City of New York has appointed Whitney W. Donhauser President and Director of the Museum. She will join the City Museum on January 1, 2016, succeeding Susan Henshaw Jones who is retiring at the end of the year.
Whitney W. Donhauser has had a 23-year career in museum management and fundraising. As Senior Advisor to the President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Donhauser worked with the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Director, President, and executive leadership on formulating and implementing Museum policy.
“We are very lucky to have found such an accomplished museum professional to lead the City Museum during its next period of growth,” said James Dinan, Chairman of the City Museum Board. “We are confident that Whitney Donhauser will ensure the City Museum continues its renaissance, which includes launching our milestone permanent exhibition, New York at Its Core, which is scheduled to open November 2016.”
At the Metropolitan Museum, Whitney Donhauser has had leadership responsibility overseeing major museum functions and projects, collaborating with development, facilities, security, visitor services and capital projects. She has also been involved with coordinating exhibition planning and implementation, marketing and government relations. She worked on the trustee committee on the design selection for the David H. Koch Plaza and played a role in managing its construction. In addition, she supervised the early phase of planning for the Metropolitan Museum’s upcoming use of the Breuer Building, former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art on 75th Street and Madison Avenue.
“I am deeply honored to be joining the Museum of the City of New York,” said Whitney Donhauser. “As a long-time New Yorker, I have greatly enjoyed seeing the Museum’s transformation into an important cultural force in the life of the city. Now, I look forward to advancing the Museum’s profile and role in the City’s cultural life, increasing its audience and completing the groundbreaking exhibition, New York at Its Core. I am excited to work with the Museum’s staff on exhibitions and programs that capture the city’s rich history and ethos – its diversity, neighborhoods and internationalism.”
Donhauser was the primary contact between the Metropolitan Museum and the White House for major events hosted by President Obama and for numerous other government events, including most recently the US State Department conferences raising awareness of the illicit trafficking of art work in Syria and Iraq. She was also involved in the planning and coordination of several of the Museum’s more complex Roof Garden installations, including most notably, Big Bambú by Doug and Mike Starn.
Donhauser has launched several museum membership programs, including its Apollo Circle for young adults and the Met’s 10 Curatorial Friends Groups. She also directed the popular Travel with the Met program. More recently, she chaired a Museum committee of curators and administrators assessing the Met’s revenue streams and recommending enhancements and new initiatives. In addition, she was a member of the executive team overseeing the formulation of the Met’s 20- to 30-year long-range plan.
Donhauser has a B.A. from Vassar College and a Certificate from the Royal Society of Art in London. She lives in New York with her husband, a history teacher, and two daughters.
“We are thrilled that such a talented colleague will be leading this important New York institution,” said Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Whitney’s dedication to the Met has been exemplary, and we know she will achieve great things in this new role at the Museum of the City of New York.”
10 Years Of Major Changes
Over the last decade, the Museum of the City of New York has undergone a $97 million reconstruction, including: the construction of 3,000-square-foot James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller Gallery in an addition to the rear of the building; a new curatorial center for Museum collections, including high-density, climate-controlled storage for the Museum’s photography, costumes, prints, drawings, and the theater collections; a redesigned and relocated Museum Shop and restoration of historic elements of the Museum’s Colonial Revival building, including the grand Nathalie Pierrepont Comfort staircase, the Marble Court, and the Bruno A. Quinson Library / Conference Room; a restored and updated lobby; a renovation and climate control of the Museum’s entire South Wing, including galleries on three floors; the renovation and climate control of the Museum’s North Wing, again including galleries on three floors; the renovation of the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Children’s Center, including three new technologically enhanced classrooms with Internet access; the renovation of the Museum’s Fifth Avenue and South Terraces; the construction of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery (which opened in November 2013 with the exhibition Gilded New York.); the construction of a digital lab where Museum collections are photographed at high resolution and uploaded to a new Collections Portal; the construction of new offices for Museum staff.
New York at Its Core
With the physical reconstruction of the Museum achieved, the stage has been set for New York at Its Core, a first-of-its-kind, long-term exhibition on the entire sweep of New York City’s history, which is expected to open in November 2016. New York at Its Core will occupy the Museum’s entire first floor, and the installation will include the Future of the City Lab – where visitors can participate, creating and offering their vision for the City’s future.
New York at Its Core is being organized around the themes of money, diversity, density and creativity — words that express New York City’s character. The exhibition is expected to provide interactive opportunities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the City’s past, customize investigations of New York’s evolving character and explore the City’s future. Original, historical material will dominate, but technology will help tell the story and allow visitors to delve deeply into topics of special interest. It will also aid exploration beyond the Museum’s walls through apps and other devices that connect history to life in all parts of the City today.
About the Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity and perpetual transformation. Founded in 1923 as a private, nonprofit corporation, the Museum connects the past, present and future of New York City. It serves the people of New York and visitors from around the world through exhibitions, school and public programs, publications, and collections. For more information, visit www.mcny.org.