Mystic Seaport Museum Announces Search for New Head of Curatorial Affairs

The Museum announces it is initiating a search for a new senior vice president for Curatorial Affairs to replace Nicholas Bell, who is leaving to become President and CEO of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta.

Mystic, Conn. (August 28, 2019) — Mystic Seaport Museum announces it is initiating a search for a new senior vice president for Curatorial Affairs to replace Nicholas Bell, who is leaving the Museum to become President and CEO of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta.

“We are grateful for Nicholas’s vision and leadership and his profound contribution to the Museum,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport Museum. “While we are disappointed to see him go, we are excited for the professional and personal opportunity it affords him and his family as he is returning to his native Canada. He leaves an impressive legacy, and the state of our exhibition program has never been stronger.  I am thrilled to announce he will continue to serve on the Museum’s Exhibition Committee.

Bell’s arrival coincided with the opening of the Museum’s new Thompson Exhibition Building in 2016. Using the building’s 5,000 square-foot Collins Gallery as an anchor venue, Bell directed an ambitious and diverse series of exhibitions, including:

  • The international debut of The Vikings Begin: Treasures from Uppsala University, Sweden, an exhibition of some of the earliest Viking artifacts ever unearthed.
  • Science Myth and Mystery, the Vinland Map Saga, the first public display of the controversial map outside of Yale University in more than 50 years.
  • Death in the Ice: The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition, an examination of the fate of the ships and crew of a tragic attempt to traverse the Arctic’s Northwest Passage in the 1840s, featuring artifacts recovered from the recently discovered shipwrecks.
  • Murmur: Arctic Realities, the international debut of a major installation by contemporary artist, John Grade, examining the changing arctic through sculpture and augmented reality.
  • Monument Man: The Art of Kevin Sampson, the museum’s first artist-in-residence.

The Museum will open J.M.W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate, Saturday, October 5. The exhibition on loan from Tate, London, features 97 works by the iconic British artist from throughout his career. Mystic Seaport Museum is the only North American venue for the show, which is the largest collection of Turner watercolors ever to be displayed in the US.

The Museum recently joined the Global Curatorial Project on the history and legacy of African slavery, an international consortium led by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, that will collaborate on exhibitions and programming in the coming years.

The Museum has received unprecedented support in recent years for it exhibition and curatorial work. For example, the Henry Luce Foundation awarded a $735,000 grant to support the curation and development of new collections installations and related programming. The three projects provide new perspectives on the Museum’s collections while also promoting public access. The first of the projects, Mary Mattingly’s Open Ocean, is now on display in the Museum’s R.J. Schaefer Building.

The Museum was also the recipient of $736,167 in Save America’s Treasures grants to support the restoration of the L.A. Dunton fishing schooner and preservation work for the Rosenfeld Collection of Maritime Photography. The grants from the National Park Service are implemented in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Museum is initiating a nationwide search for a new senior vice president for Curatorial Affairs.

About Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic Seaport Museum, founded in 1929, is the nation’s leading maritime museum. In addition to providing a multitude of immersive experiences, the Museum also houses a collection of more than two million artifacts that include more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography. The new Thompson Exhibition Building houses a state-of-the-art gallery that will feature J.M.W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate, the most comprehensive exhibition of Turner watercolors ever displayed in the U.S. opening October 5, 2019. Mystic Seaport Museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. For more information, please visit https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/ and follow Mystic Seaport Museum on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.