Sean Decatur to Lead NYC’s American Museum of Natural History

Sean Decatur, the president of Ohio’s Kenyon University, will be the following director of New York’s American Museum of Organic Historical past (AMNH), building him the very first Black particular person to guide the institution. In April, Decatur will just take about from Ellen Futter, who has been at the helm of the AMNH given that 1993, a purpose that created her the to start with woman to direct a significant New York City museum.

Decatur has been president of Kenyon considering that 2013, and before assuming management of the Ohio liberal arts higher education, he worked as a professor of biophysical chemistry. This will be his initially time presiding above a museum.

“I truly feel as if everything I’ve accomplished in life has led up to the tremendous privilege, duty, and prospect of heading the American Museum of Purely natural History,” Decatur claimed in an AMNH statement nowadays, December 7. He additional that the museum is ready to tackle the up coming “crucial worries,” which he stated consist of “everything from scientific research to supporting community education, and to growing entry.”

The Roosevelt statue outside AMNH splashed with purple paint in an motion by the Monument Removal Brigade in 2017 (courtesy of the Monument Removal Brigade)

The past number of yrs have not been without controversy at the museum, wherever Decatur will inherit a record of workforce struggles. In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, pretty much half of the museum’s personnel was impacted by layoffs and furloughs. Two several years later on, citing a absence of position stability and very low spend, AMNH personnel voted to unionize, and above 100 employees joined their 78 colleagues who were currently users of Regional 1559 chapter of DC 37.

And in January, the establishment eventually taken out the racist Theodore Roosevelt statue that extended stood exterior its entrance, a bronze sculpture that depicted the previous US president flanked by two smaller Black and Indigenous figures. The statue, erected in 1940, was a place of rivalry for a long time and continuously doused with faux blood in protests heading as far back as the 1970s.

Even following the sculpture was eradicated, criticism arose over its supposed location. The perform would vacation to the privately funded Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, around Roosevelt’s former ranch and namesake national park, areas of which encompass land taken from the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) people in the mid-19th century. Protestors named for the statue to as a substitute be destroyed.

Decatur will think his new publish in April 2023.

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