Peter Armstrong (Image Courtesy Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)
Museum Appoints Christina Connett Brophy as Senior Vice President of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Director of Museum Galleries
Peter Armstrong is appointed the next president of Mystic Seaport Museum, the organization’s board of trustees announced today. An accomplished museum professional with more than 25 years of experience on two continents, Armstrong joins the Museum from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, where he is Senior Director of Museum Operations and Education. The board also announced the appointment of Dr. Christina Connett Brophy as Senior Vice President of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Director of Museum Galleries.
“We are excited about the appointments of Peter and Christina as they bring well-honed, complementary talents to MSM. Peter has extensive management skills and experience as director of operations of a large and complex museum organization combined with great marketing knowhow. Christina brings outstanding maritime museum curatorial experience and demonstrated success in innovative programming and exhibitions development,” said Michael S. Hudner, Chair of the Mystic Seaport Museum Board of Trustees. “Both Peter and Christina have had exceptional achievements in broadening and diversifying more traditional audiences with new approaches to increase the appeal of well-known institutions to a changing world.”
In his position of Senior Director at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Armstrong oversees education, collections, exhibitions, and interpretation as well as directing two major museums and their living history sites. He led the transition from the Yorktown Victory Center—a small museum with some living history areas—to the new, $50-million, state-of-the-art American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, which opened in April 2017. Most recently in 2019, he oversaw the creation of the special exhibition TENACITY, which focused on the arrival of the first women to Jamestown, and Forgotten Soldier, which features the personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans who fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War.
Armstrong came to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation from the United Kingdom’s National Museum of Arms and Armour, also known as the Royal Armouries. The Royal Armouries has three museums, the most famous of which is the Tower of London. During his tenure, Armstrong developed and promoted several major exhibitions, including Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill at the Tower of London.
“Mystic Seaport Museum has a worldwide reputation for excellence, quality and good old-fashioned fun. As the Museum heads towards its centenary, I am excited to be able to play a role in continuing the legacy of the retiring president, and to work with the board and the Mystic team to deliver a modern, relevant, diverse, and community-focused future,” said Armstrong.
Dr. Christina Connett Brophy is currently the Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM), where she has been a senior executive for seven years. While there she demonstrated systemic strategic leadership, successful fundraising, increased branding and outreach, partnership development, and path-breaking initiatives that have impacted NBWM towards a unified vision, national and international media recognition, an increase in visitation, greater connectivity with a diverse community, and a stronger and more sustainable financial position. She has curated more than 30 exhibitions, notably A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World and A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art, which will open in June 2021.
“There is a magic to Mystic Seaport Museum that is unique and rare, a tribute to its committed Board, staff and volunteers, its exquisite collections, and an historic and beautiful working waterfront. I am thrillled to be given the opportunity to streamline the Museum’s offerings towards a focused and 21st century global model, while remaining true to our nation’s rich maritime heritage,” said Connett Brophy. “There is extraordinary potential here to increase relevancy to a broader audience, particularly in addressing critical social and environmental issues facing the world today.”
Hudner expressed gratitude for retiring President and CEO Steve White, who is working to ensure a smooth transition of leadership as the Museum navigates the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over White’s 12 years at the helm, the Museum was recognized for the ambition of its initiatives, notably the restoration and 38th Voyage of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan and the fundraising and construction of the $15 million McGraw Gallery Quadrangle project anchored by the award-winning Thompson Exhibition Building.
I am very pleased to hand over the reins to two such exemplary people,” said White. “Their experience, energy, and broad perspective will serve the Museum well as the institution continues to demonstrate and explain the continuing relevance of the sea and maritime heritage to contemporary audiences.”