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June 16, 2015

Pittsburgh Museum Hires New Director After 3-Year Vacancy

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has named a permanent director, ending three years of interim leadership at the financially troubled Pittsburgh institution, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Eric Dorfman, director of the Whanganui Regional Museum and Ward Observatory in New Zealand, will take up his new post on August 31.

The Pittsburgh center has been without a permanent leader since September 2012. In late 2013, facing yearly losses of $1 million to $2 million, it offered buyouts to seven senior curators and launched plans for more visitor-friendly exhibitions in an effort to boost revenue. The parent organization, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, has offset the losses with funds from its other institutions, including the Carnegie Science Center and the Andy Warhol Museum.

Mr. Dorfman oversaw a quadrupling of the Whanganui museum's annual visitation, from 19,000 to 74,000 in four years. Lee Foster, chairman of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's board, said it was "critical that whoever assumed this position would understand that there was a need to connect the science that was going on in the back of the house with the exhibitions and educational programs that would be relevant to the community."