The Peabody Essex Museum announced today it has named Joshua Basseches to the new position of deputy director /chief operating officer.

Basseches joins the museum 14 months after a $175 million project that transformed the museum from a small, venerable local institution into one of America’s top 20 art museums, as measured by physical size, operating budget, and attendance.

“We are delighted to have Josh join PEM at this important time. PEM is a dynamic and innovative new museum of art and culture that possesses exceptional collections, facilities, and programs. During PEM’s transformation, we set out to build an exceptional team of senior staff leaders. We welcome Josh as the newest member of this team,” said Dan Monroe, director of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Basseches comes to the Peabody Essex Museum with a deep knowledge of the museum world and a successful career in managing a variety of art and cultural institutions. He has extensive art museum training and experience, as well as broad-based museum leadership experience. He managed the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s exhibition planning program for three years, during which time he oversaw development and presentation of many major exhibitions, including The Age of Rubens and John James Audubon: The Watercolors for the “Birds of America.”

In his most recent position, Basseches oversaw the transformation of the Harvard Museum of Natural History (HMNH) from a prestigious academic institution into a museum with a greatly expanded public mission. During his six years as executive director, the museum significantly increased the quality and scope of its programming, launching a new series of education and outreach initiatives, and experienced a 70 percent increase in attendance.

Before joining the HMNH, Basseches worked for TDC (Technical Development Corporation), where he was a consultant to museums and other non-profit cultural institutions with a focus on strategic and business planning. In addition to his management experience, Basseches has a full understanding of the process of mounting successful exhibitions, from small, jewel-like shows to major exhibitions.

“The Peabody Essex Museum has always been a revered institution, and with its recent reopening, is well on the way to becoming a leader on the world stage in integrating art and culture in dynamic new ways. I am thrilled to be a part of this effort,” said Basseches.

In his new role at the Peabody Essex Museum, Basseches will have significant responsibility for the day-to-day running of the museum.

Basseches lives in Quincy, Mass., with his wife and two children. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School (MBA), and of Amherst College (BA, Fine Arts).


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