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Michael Taylor to Virginia MFA

One of this season’s enduring mysteries around town concerns the departure as Hood Museum Director of well liked Michael Taylor. I’ve heard various rumors, but nothing that I could pin down to any level of certainty. Now word comes that Taylor has landed a new job at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts:

Michael Taylor Virginia Comp.jpg

Read the full VMFA press release here.

Addendum: The Valley News story on Taylor’s departure from the Hood and new appointment in Virginia ended with an interesting quote and two paragraphs of writer Nicola Smith’s editorial commentary:

Nyerges said that he talked both to Taylor, and to a “lot of other people who knew the situation very well; it’s Dartmouth’s loss and our gain. The politics of museums and universities, to say the least, are interesting.”…

The question remains why Dartmouth College would shoot itself in the foot with a public relations misstep. The college has the right to decide who is at the helm of the Hood Museum, but in the absence of information or explanation, rumor fills the vacuum, which is neither fair to Taylor, nor advantageous to the college. The Hood Museum serves not only the college, but the Upper Valley at large.

And what kind of signal does the manner of Taylor’s departure send to prospective applicants? If a director’s level of scholarship, personal and professional reputation, and engagement with the entire community, are not enough to hold onto the job, then what are the criteria?


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