LIU Post Alumnus to Head Smithsonian National Museum of History
Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations & Marketing
Long Island University, LIU Post
LIU Post alumnus John Gray was recently named the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Gray, who obtained a B.A. in political science from LIU Post in 1970 and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Colorado, went from a successful career in banking and government service to founding the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles. He returns to cultural arts administration after having retired from the Autry Center in late 2010.
Gray spent 25 years in commercial banking, including serving as executive vice president of First Interstate Bank of California in Los Angeles. He worked for the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., for two years and then moved back to the West Coast to serve as president and CEO of the Autry Museum. This was the beginning of a career in non-profit cultural organizations, which culminated in the creation of the Autry National Center of the American West, formed by the merger of three organizations.
With more than 500,000 objects, a 130-member staff and an annual budget of about $16 million, the Autry National Center is accredited by the American Association of Museums and gained national prominence during Gray's tenure.
Effective July 23, 2012, Gray will oversee 234 employees, a budget of more than $34 million and the renewal of the National Museum of American History's 120,000-square-foot west exhibition wing with its new exhibit spaces, interior public plazas, a Hall of Music for live performances, a modern education center and a gallery for the Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation.
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Opened to the public in January 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology, it was the sixth Smithsonian building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Since its inception, some four million visitors a year have passed through its doors.
"It is a great honor to be selected as steward of our national treasures," said Gray. "Learning and understanding our shared histories as Americans are vital to living in and developing the American experience."
To read the Smithsonian's press release, click here.
Return to Press Releases