OGDENSBURG — With the retirement of Frederic Remington Art Museum Executive Director and Curator Laura A. Foster looming, the museum’s Board of Directors made a move last week that increases the pool of candidates for the job.
Laura Desmond, the museum’s education specialist since 2017, was named curator and educator on Friday.
With Ms. Desmond’s promotion, Ms. Foster’s successor need only fill one role.
When Ms. Foster was hired as the museum’s curator in 1989, she was the last element in the quest to get the museum standing on its own as a New York state Chartered Museum and not just a subsidiary of the Ogdensburg Public Library. In 2013, when Ms. Foster was named executive director, keeping her curator title saved the organization a substantial amount of money, she said.
“I was in a good place to do that because I had all these years experience doing the Frederic Remington scholarly work, and I had great experience with institutional history,” Ms. Foster said. “What was new to me was the fundraising and administrative work and management being executive director.”
Ms. Desmond has proven herself during her time at the museum to be an excellent curator, Ms. Foster said.
“We hired Laura Desmond in July of 2017 and almost every day since then it has been clear what a tremendous mind she has for art and collections management and exhibitions and all of the really important stuff to the core of the museum — the collection and the art,” Ms. Foster said.
Splitting the job apart seemed like the obvious thing to do, Ms. Foster said.
Finding an executive director to do the administrative work is an easier job to fill than finding someone who could fill both the curator and director slots, Ms. Foster said.
Craig Chevalier, the president of the museum’s Board of Trustees said the executive director search committee is using the book, “Executive Transitions from the Museum Trustee Association,” as its guide.
With the curatorial responsibilities taken off the table the new executive director will have a more narrow scope of responsibilities, he said.
“The executive director will be able to focus on the development of the museum and raising our stature on the national and international level,” Mr. Chevalier said. “Our board is very grateful to Laura Foster for recognizing the ability and the desire of Laura Desmond to be able to fill that role of curator.”
Ms. Foster is scheduled to retire on Nov. 14. Mr. Chevalier said the plan is to have a new executive director in place soon enough to allow some overlap in transition.