On February 15, Brett Abbott became the new Director and CEO of the New Britain Museum of American Art; during his first week in office, Artscope Magazine’s Suzanne Volmer exchanged questions and ideas with him as he was stepping into the job.
SUZANNE VOLMER: Welcome back to New England. Congratulations on becoming the new Director of NBMAA.
BRETT ABBOTT: Thank you.
SV: Your background includes a Master’s Degree from Williams College and then onward to Stanford and Museum Leadership training at The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It’s a combination of influences that makes me think of the exhibit “Now Dig This!” that originated from The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Series that I saw at Williams College Art Museum. I wonder what cross-pollination, inclusive of your museum directorship at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, do you plan to bring to New Britain Museum of American Art?
BA: Museums are unique gems, each and every one of them. And what works for one institution may not always transfer to another. But you are absolutely right that I carry with me important lessons from each context…ideas that may have application here. PST is a great model, something that could definitely be considered in the years ahead for the greater Hartford region. There is such a rich history of the arts in this area that I suspect plumbing that in combination with other regional institutions could be quite fruitful and meaningful.