Tobin to stay on until September to help search for successor
The University of New Mexico’s Harwood Museum of Art announced Monday (April 9) that its director Richard Tobin will be part of a transition when his contract ends June 30. “I have not resigned,” he told Tempo Friday (April 27) at a roundtable discussion for the “Work by Women” exhibition at the museum.
“The Harwood Museum of Art congratulates Dr. Richard Tobin for his accomplishments as director and is announcing that he will stay on as the museum’s director until the end of September and assist in its search for his successor,” the Harwood statement reads. “Since taking the helm of the museum in 2016, Dr. Tobin completed the museum’s most important multiyear project: receiving accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, a project begun by former director Susan Longhenry.”
In a story about the accreditation, Tobin told The Taos News in February 2017 he was relieved about the museum receiving it, but was quick to attribute the work of many staff, past and present, for bringing the museum up to speed. Tobin’s predecessor as director, Susan Longhenry, “formally started the process in 2010,” he said. “It was kind of put on hold when she left, and we didn’t have a director,” but it was ongoing.
Once awarded, the notice “essentially tells the public. It tells the community. It tells any kind of donors that we are following best practices and national standards, that we have a fiduciary responsibility to keep the work preserved, exhibited and interpreted in accordance to the best practices in museums all over the country,” he said.
“Dr. Tobin’s accomplishment inaugurates a new era for the photographed in May 2016 at the opening of the Harwood Museum’s major traveling exhibit, “Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and TheWest.”
Harwood,” said Chaouki Abdallah, the University of NewMexico’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We are thrilled that the Harwood is included among the rare collection of museums to have attained accreditation.”
Only 3 percent of museums in the United States have received this designation, according to the Harwood statement.
Tobin remarked to the paper that if the Harwood Museum of Art had been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums when the much-lauded exhibition, “Mabel Dodge Luhan and
Company: American Moderns and the West,” was being organized, it would have been cheaper and much easier to pull off when it opened here in 2016.
Prior to joining the Harwood, Tobin served as the director of strategic planning (1995-2005) and as interim president (2005-2007) at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. He has taught a UNM art history course each semester at the Harwood since 1994.
“As Harwood director, Dr. Tobin has envisioned and curated many wonderful and memorable museumwide exhibitions including ‘Continuum,’ ‘The Errant Eye: Portraits in a Landscape’ and ‘Divergent Works,’ conceived the ‘Work by Women’ exhibition and integrated the exhibitions with corresponding educational programs.” said Alexandra Benjamin, chair of the Harwood governing board, in the statement. “After the museum received accreditation, one of his major objectives was to refocus the curatorial department towards completing the documentation and photography of the Harwood Museum collection inventory and also to get the collection online. Under Dr. Tobin’s direction these essential goals are nearing completion.”
Tobin strongly supports board efforts to further the museum’s success by enlisting an institutional review team from the University of New Mexico’s main campus to work with the staff and the governing board for the next six months, better connecting the museum with important resources in Albuquerque, the statement continues.
The UNM review team includes David Harris, executive vice president of administration, Kymberly Pinder, dean of the College of Fine Arts, Arif Khan, director of the UNM Art Museum and TomTkach,executive director of UNM’s Popejoy Hall.
The Harwood Foundation was created in 1923 after Burt Harwood’s death in September 1922. Elizabeth Case Harwood (Lucy) deeded the residence on Ledoux Street to UNM in 1935.
Now approaching 100, the Harwood is the second oldest museum in New Mexico. Works in the collections, dating from the 19th century to the present, have made the Harwood one of the premier museums in the Southwest, one that highlights the transformative power of Taos and NewMexico on the arts.