LOS ANGELES, CA.-
The Board of the Autry National Center of the American West
has announced W. Richard Rick West, Jr. will be joining the museum as its new President and CEO. He will be taking leadership of the organization as it moves into the next critical phase of its development as a premier museum, education center and research institution bringing together diverse experiences, collections, and stories that make Western history come alive.
As you know, the Autry is undergoing comprehensive and exciting changes as an organization, with refocused programming in new exhibit galleries, the Autry Resource Center in Burbank, and the newly conserved Southwest Collection, said Marshall McKay, Chairman of the Board of the Autry National Center. In our strategic development, weve encountered new challenges and opportunities and carefully reassessed what the Autry needs to make this transition a success at every level. The Board recognized the need for a specific set of skills and experience in its President to lead the organization at this crucial time. We believe Rick Wests wealth of expertise as founding director of a national museum, tribal leader and Native legal expert offer the background the Autry needs.
With a Masters Degree in American History from Harvard University and a J.D. from Stanford University, Mr. West spent decades in the legal arena, much of his work focused on Native American and tribal issues. In 1990, he became the founding director of the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C. During his 18-year tenure, he oversaw NMAIs successful development, design and construction and then growth as the leading institution dedicated to the representation and interpretation of the indigenous cultures of the Western Hemisphere. Most recently, he served as the Interim Director of the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.
Having worked for most of my professional life on Native American issues, I am passionate about telling the compelling and important story of the American West and all the people who created that history and shape the present and future, said Mr. West. The Autry has such a powerful and unique opportunity now to deliver on that mission with exciting new resources, exhibits, and facilities to engage and educate the public. I am honored to join this institution as it celebrates its 25th anniversary and moves toward bright future horizons.
As President and CEO, Mr. West will be responsible for all operations at the Autry from collection development and financial sustainability to institutional growth and visitor experience. He will oversee a team of 160 professionals as well as 300 volunteers, all dedicated to the Autrys core mission.
We appreciate the progress achieved under the guidance of our outgoing President, Dan Finley. During his term, the Board developed and adopted our new strategic plan, said Jackie Autry, Founding Chair of the Autry National Center. This strategic plan will give new life to our fundraising initiatives and articulates a future that is clear, exciting, of value to our community, and sustainable. Today, we are excited about where the Autry is headed in its mission of sharing the stories, experiences and perceptions of all of the peoples of the American West.