Published: March 29, 2017
OLD LYME, CONN. — After more than 40 years of service to the Florence Griswold Museum, Director Jeff Andersen is planning to step down after a new director is appointed. Ted Hamilton, president of the board of trustees, announced that a comprehensive national search will be undertaken in the months ahead, overseen by a committee of trustees and coordinated with an executive search firm.
“Jeff Andersen has guided the growth of this museum with equal measures of vision and attention to detail,” Hamilton said. “He sees things clearly and stays focused on long-term goals. Jeff charted a course for the Florence Griswold Museum to become a singular American art institution based on its history as an artist colony. He inspired our trustees, staff and volunteers to dedicate themselves toward this mission. Under his leadership, the museum has become known for its compelling exhibitions and innovative educational programs.”
A fifth-generation native of northern California, Andersen began his career at the museum after completing his MA in museum studies from Cooperstown graduate program in Cooperstown, N.Y. During his tenure, the Florence Griswold Museum evolved from a seasonal attraction with one staff member and fewer than 1,000 visitors per year to an accredited art museum with 20 staff members, 225 dedicated volunteers, nearly 80,000 visitors annually, and more than 3,000 members. Early on, Andersen helped establish an endowment fund for the institution, which now funds one-third of the museum’s annual operating budget of $2.6 million.
Working closely with teams of trustees and professional colleagues, Andersen led a transformative, decades-long campaign to reacquire the original Florence Griswold property with the goal of creating a new kind of American museum based on the site’s history as the creative center of the Lyme Art Colony. Reunifying the historic estate, much of which had been sold during the 1930s, took seven different real estate transactions, culminating in 2016 with the purchase of the last private parcel of the original estate. Supported by capital campaigns that raised more than $20 million collectively, the museum implemented master plans to reconstruct historic gardens, relocate the William Chadwick artist studio, build education and landscape centers and open the Robert and Nancy Krieble Gallery, an award-winning modern exhibition, collection and archives facility designed by Centerbrook Architects. In 2006, the museum completed the restoration of the National Historic Landmark Florence Griswold House (1818) as a circa 1910 boardinghouse of the artists’ colony. Located along the banks of the Lieutenant River, the museum’s 13-acre historic site now forms an essential part of a visitor experience that integrates art, history and nature.
“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to be a part of this museum,” Andersen reflected. “What I am perhaps most proud of is the deep sense of loyalty and camaraderie that is felt amongst our staff, trustees, volunteers and members. In many ways, it echoes what Florence Griswold and the original Lyme artists had with one another. In this spirit, I know that everyone will give their full support to the next director to help the museum flourish in the years ahead.”
The Florence Griswold Museum is at 96 Lyme Street. For information, www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or 860-434-5542.
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