New Museums of Science and Culture Director Announced

Jane Pickering, deputy director and director of public programs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, will be the first executive director of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, FAS Dean Michael D. Smith announced Tuesday.

“Under the leadership of Jane Pickering, Harvard is launching a new model for university museums, one that has the potential to be so much more than the sum of its parts,” Smith told the Harvard Gazette.

Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, a consortium of six Faculty of Arts and Sciences museum, was formed last spring, and Pickering said she looks forward to shaping this fledgling institution.

“My responsibilities are really to lead the effort of this new entity and to do some interesting programming,” said Pickering, adding that she would act as a liaison between the University and Cambridge community.

As the consortium’s first executive director, Pickering will work closely with the museums’ faculty leaders and stakeholders. She will be responsible for the major functions of the museums, such as exhibits, public programs, and administration.

Pickering will assume this position with many years of experience under her belt. She has worked at university museums at Oxford, MIT, and, most recently, Yale.

“My entire career, basically since I got my master’s degree, has been in university museums,” she said. “I’ve been privileged to work at great universities.”

The decision to appoint Pickering was fueled by her commitment to engaging the public with museum collections.

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Professor James J. McCarthy—who chaired the faculty executive board that developed the consortium last spring—also noted Pickering’s past appointments.

“[Pickering’s] broad experience in university-based museums, from curator to director, and her accomplishments in each of these roles bodes well for a swift and steady launch of the HMSC under her leadership,” he told the Gazette.

Pickering will assume her new stead at the helm of HMSC on January 14, 2013.

“One of the most exciting things for me is the chance to do something new,” Pickering said. “The opportunity to work with these six museums is just really the opportunity of the lifetime.”

—Staff writer Nikita Kansra can be reached at nkansra01@college.harvard.edu

—Staff writer Sabrina Mohamed can be reached at smohamed@college.harvard.edu.

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