Thursday, February 18, 2010

Woodmere Art Museum Director Steps Down


One of Longest-Serving Museum Directors in Region Helped Transform Museum From Volunteer 
Art Center To Fine Art Museum Featuring Works by Philadelphia Artists

Michael Schantz Leaves Museum Poised To Expand, With New Wing Designed by 
Architects Venturi, Scott Brown Associates.

Philadelphia, PA (September 1, 2009) --- After 28 years of distinguished service, Dr. Michael W. Schantz, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Woodmere Art Museum, has announced he will step down from his position, effective December 31, 2009.

The Board of Trustees will begin a search for his successor.

Under Dr. Schantz’s leadership – one of the longest of any museum director in the region – the Woodmere Art Museum transformed itself from a largely volunteer-run art center into a professionally managed, vital, community-based fine art museum. During Dr. Schantz’s tenure, Woodmere emerged as the region’s only museum dedicated exclusively to Philadelphia artists.

“Michael has done a fabulous job for Woodmere, and, in many ways, Woodmere is Michael Schantz,” said Board president Dianne Meyer. “We will miss him.”

“Having spent nearly three decades at the Woodmere, the decision to step down was not one made lightly,” Dr. Schantz said. “But with the groundwork laid and the Museum poised to begin an important new chapter, this is an opportune time to pass the reins to the Museum’s next leader. The Museum is in capable hands with the stewardship of the Board and the professionalism of the employees.”

While at the Woodmere, Dr. Schantz was responsible for a number of important projects, including:
•    Woodmere’s first designation in 1984 as a museum accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM), a distinction it has maintained ever since.
•    The successful navigation of multiple AAM assessments, including Conservation, Public Dimension, and Governance, an accomplishment achieved by few other museums.
•    Woodmere’s selection as a Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Cultural Leadership Program Award winner for 2008, placing it among the region’s most accomplished institutions both programmatically and operationally.
•    The addition of more than 2000 works of art to the Museum’s permanent collection.
•    Curating and / or organizing more than 100 temporary exhibitions, underscoring Woodmere’s reputation for dedication to the artists of Philadelphia, past and present.

Perhaps most public was Dr. Schantz’s leadership in helping to develop and implement a multi- phase physical facility master plan. The plan involved the successful transformation of Woodmere’s distinctive and historic Victorian mansion into a modern ADA-compliant museum.

The third and final phase of that plan involves the building of a major addition designed by world-renowned architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. The new addition will include a public auditorium, an exhibition hall, and a new museum store, as well as critically needed collection and archival support areas.

WOODMERE ART MUSEUM, the Regional Museum of Philadelphia Art, is located on Germantown Avenue in historic Chestnut Hill. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Woodmere celebrates the richness of the Philadelphia region’s artistic legacy through its permanent collection, exhibitions, and educational programs. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Call 215-247-0476 or visit for more information.

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