Fine Art Connoisseur

MARRIED MUSEUM CO-DIRECTORS: A LEADERSHIP MODEL FOR THE FUTURE?

In January 2013, when Maine’s Bowdoin College announced the appointment of Frank H. Goodyear III and Anne Collins Goodyear as co-directors of its campus art museum, initial reviews of the married couple’s hiring varied. “CC me on that, honey,” ARTnews magazine tweeted archly; the Association of Art Museum Directors handle liked that post. In the Observer, Andrew Russeth noted that the co-leadership model follows the ancient Roman diarchy, which was “ruled by two leaders.” An “exit interview” in The Washington Post noted the longtime curators had not come to the National Portrait Gallery as a package deal but were leaving it together. “Forget splitting the household chores,” the Post’s Katherine Boyle wrote. “Their upcoming experiment in management and marriage is one that would make Sheryl Sandberg fans downright euphoric.”

The “Great Man” leadership theory, in which “one sole leader rules over the masses from the ivory tower,” has expired, although co-leadership, absent a strong relationship, “can easily become draining and frustrating,” opined a 2015 Harvard Business Review article. Bowdoin’s now-5-year-old “experiment” comes at a time when museums are increasingly responding to gender gaps in the C-suite, and its museum equivalent.

A 2017 report by the Association

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