“The Board was very fortunate to identify Kahn as the museums next Director,” said Arquit. “This is an exciting time for the Adirondack Museum to bring in someone as accomplished as David because he has devoted his entire career to the museum profession. His skills, experience, and passion for history will undoubtedly continue to move the museum forward as a rich cultural resource and intellectually engaging place.”
A native New Yorker, David Kahn will be coming to the Adirondack Park from San Diego, C.A. He is currently Executive Director of the San Diego History Center, and prior to going to San Diego, Kahn was Director of three other institutions. He was Executive Director of the Brooklyn Historical Society from 1982 – 1996. While he was there, the institution built a national reputation for its community history projects that focused on topics ranging from new Chinese immigrants to the Crown Heights Riots. From 1996 – 2006 David served as Executive Director of the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford, the seventh oldest historical organization in the United States. During his tenure, the Society’s annual operating budget grew from $1.7 million to $5 million and the institution quadrupled its audience to 70,000.
In May 2006 David assumed the directorship of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. While in Louisiana he was responsible for 13 facilities and secured major grants including $1.4M from the National Science Foundation for an exhibition about Hurricane Katrina and $2M from the National Park Service for a jazz center.
Throughout his career, David has been involved in a wide variety of professional activities. He has served on peer grant review panels for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Council for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Smithsonian Institution. He was Vice President of the New York State Association of Museums from 1992-1995 and is currently Vice President of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership. He has been an Editorial Board Member of the journal Curator since 1994 and he has served on two Ford Foundation Advisory Committees, “Documentation, Editing, and Archives” (1998) and “Expanding the Civic Role of the Arts” (1996 –1997). David has moderated panels and presented professional papers at numerous history museum conferences in San Francisco (2009), New Orleans (2008), Vienna (2007), Amsterdam (2005), São Paulo (2004), Luxembourg (2000), Istanbul (1999), Québec (1999), Bonn (1996), and Harrogate (1996). He has published articles in Curator and Museum News as well as a series of travel pieces about Japan (a personal interest) in The New York Times. He earned both a B.A. Magna Cum Laude and a M.A. in Art History from Columbia University.
“I am absolutely thrilled that the Adirondack Museum’s Board has chosen me to lead the organization into the future,” said Kahn. “The challenge for me will be to take what is obviously already a great institution and to find even more new and innovative ways for it to serve its many visitors and the community. I look forward to working with the museum’s dedicated board, its professional staff, and its many volunteers and donors.”
David Kahn will assume the position of Executive Director, Adirondack Museum on September 5, 2011.