Hudson River Museum Announces Appointment of New Director
The Hudson River Museum announced the appointment of Masha Turchinsky to the post of Director to succeed Michael Botwinick. Mr. Botwinick, the longest serving Director in the Museum’s history came to the Museum in 2001. He has announced his plans to retire at the end of this year. Turchinsky will join the Museum in mid-September as Director designate working together with Botwinick to complete program planning for the next two seasons. They will also focus on the design phase of the Museum’s $5.5 million expansion in partnership with the City of Yonkers to create new climate-controlled special exhibition galleries, expanded space for the permanent collection, a 100-seat performance space and the first special purpose art storage space in the Museum’s nearly 100 year history. Turchinsky will assume the Directorship in January 2017.
Ms. Turchinsky joins the Museum following 19 years at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where she has most recently held the position of Senior Manager and Senior Producer of Media Production and Online Features in Digital, following senior positions overseeing Digital Learning, as well as publishing and creative management roles in Education. She has a longstanding track record of innovation and impact at the Met, and in leading successful multi-disciplinary museum approaches to audience engagement through interpretive content, curatorial collaborations, and technology. She began her professional career as an educator and translator in Madrid, Spain, followed by work in the publishing industry. She has led educational programs in The Met’s galleries, served as a consultant to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and currently oversees social media for YoFiFest, the Yonkers Film Festival.
In her leadership capacity at The Met, Turchinsky has served as both Chair and Delegate to the Board of Trustees for the institution’s professional Assembly. Her work has garnered numerous industry honors, including 2016 awards from The American Alliance of Museums, Museums and the Web, and the Webby Awards for her direction and launch of #MetKids, a groundbreaking online content series produced for, with, and by global young people and specialists at The Met, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. She has spearheaded strategic partnerships with leaders in the digital sector such as Khan Academy, and content and programmatic collaborations with cultural institutions including The New York Botanical Garden, The Tenement Museum, as well as the New York City Department of Education. In 2011, she produced Met Guitars, The Met’s first mobile app in conjunction with the Musical Instruments department’s Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York exhibition. Turchinsky lectures internationally on the topics of audience-driven approaches to museum content, literacy and technology, and multi-disciplinary learning and engagement in cultural institutions.
This is something of a homecoming for Turchinsky. A Yonkers native and a graduate of Gorton High School, she went on to Georgetown University (B.S. Russian Studies, 1991), New York University (M.A. Education,1997), and Teachers College, Columbia University (Ed.M., International Education Development, 2012). She and her husband, Taylor James Pierce, an architect in Manhattan, returned to live in Yonkers and raise their two children.
Tom D’Auria, the Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees led a committee of six Trustees who have been working on this transition search since November 2015. He noted, “Masha Turchinsky is the perfect fit for the Hudson River Museum. She brings a unique combination of major museum experience, a deep understanding of new media and audience engagement, and strong familiarity with the community and county. She has the skills to lead the Museum through the next chapter, to continue our strong history of serving the needs of Westchester County and to be part of the exciting renaissance in Yonkers.”
“I am delighted that the Museum has found a new director with a deep commitment to the work of museums honed by a career at The Met, while sharing the Hudson River Museum’s commitment to reaching out to its audiences, traditional and non-traditional and fostering both learning and the rich experience that museums can bring,” said Director Michael Botwinick.
Turchinsky stated, “I have been a frequent visitor to the Hudson River Museum since childhood. Nothing makes me more proud than the opportunity to lead this important Westchester institution, which laid the groundwork as a venue for me to appreciate art, history, science, and community. My career at The Met has prepared me well for this new role. I want to build upon the Museum’s longstanding commitment to scholarship and public engagement in order to make it shine even more brightly as a gem offering inspiration and delight. The Museum is a place that can be as flexible and diverse as the audience it serves, proudly situated in local history, while looking forward to advance the dialogue through interactions with contemporary artists and technology.”
A priority for Turchinsky will be working closely with staff at the Museum to develop programming and exhibitions that will appeal to a variety of audiences —from the weekend visitors to the thousands of local school children who regularly make class trips—while building on the cultural and educational role that the Hudson River Museum plays throughout the region.