Penn Museum chief takes top post at Chicago's Field Museum
The Penn Museum is losing its chief. Julian Siggers, director of the West Philadelphia archaeology museum since 2012, has been named president and CEO of the Field Museum in Chicago.
Siggers, 56, cited the Field's mix of science and world cultures as a lure to the new post. "It's the type of museum I really like working in, and I've always admired the Field," he said. "It has a very firm commitment to scientific research, with over a hundred active scientists there, and I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to make the move there."
The Field is a considerably larger institution than the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The Field has an $86-million-a-year budget, while the Penn Museum budget is $15 million.
The Field also has had a much larger audience: 1.6 million visitors per year to the Penn Museum's 200,000.
Of course, what attendance will be like when Siggers gets there is unclear. The Field, like all other museums, is closed for now, and the timing of a reopening in the coronavirus era is something that can only be guessed.
Siggers' eight years at the Penn Museum saw a substantial renovation of galleries and public spaces in the buildings on South Street just west of the Schuylkill.
New designs for Ancient Egypt and Nubia galleries are complete, he said, "and when they reopen in a few years they are going to be some of the most stunning galleries anywhere in the world."
Siggers will be at the Penn Museum through Labor Day as the institution navigates the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. "I would like to see our own museum through the worst of this," he said.
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