Linda Ferber to Step Down as Director of New-York Historical Society

Dr. Linda S. Ferber will be stepping down from her position as vice president and director of the Museum division at the New-York Historical Society, it was announced today. Museum director, curator, and art historian Brian T. Allen will take on that role beginning in January 2014.

“The New-York Historical Society is fortunate to have had Linda Ferber at  the helm of its Museum,” said Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the Historical Society in a statement. “She is one of the most accomplished historians of American art in the world, and her work on New York Historical’s behalf has marked a turning point for the institution. As she steps down from the directorship of our Museum, we are grateful to welcome a superb historian of American art and artifacts, and a proven museum leader, Dr. Brian Allen. We look forward to the major contributions that he is certain to make.”

One of the most significant programs initiated under Ferber’s watch is “Sharing a National Treasure,” the traveling exhibitions that brought the museum’s permanent collection (organized by subjects like Tiffany lamps and Hudson River School landscapes) to venues across the U.S. and to the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain.

“It has been a great privilege and pleasure for the past eight years to lead this superb museum staff in building a reinvigorated New-York Historical Society,” Ferber told ARTINFO over email. “At this point, I would like to spend more time focusing on research and writing. As Senior Art Historian, I look forward to continuing to mine this truly extraordinary collection.”

Brian Allen comes to the Historical Society from the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, where he has held the title of Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director since 2004. During his time there, Allen raised over $40 million to help complete a $30 million renovation of the Charles Platt building and the construction of the Sidney R. Knafel Wing, which was the first major addition to the Addison in its history. Prior to that, Allen was the curator of American art and the director of collections and exhibitions a the Sterling Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

“I feel honored to have the opportunity to work with the President of New-York Historical, its gifted staff, its wonderfully committed and supportive board and especially with the collection and the exhibition program, both of which are virtually unparalleled in their importance,” said Dr. Allen in a statement. “I am excited to be a part of this great institution’s future.”

Dr. Ferber, who has been the director of the Historical Society — the city’s oldest museum — since she joined the staff in 2005, will retain the role of senior art historian and will continue to do research and write about the museum’s collection.

Rozalia Jovanovic

(Photo courtesy Questroyal Fine Art, LLC)