Stephanie Hill-Wilchfort, who has served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum for the past eight years, was announced Tuesday as the next director and curator of the Museum of the City of New York.
“I’m really interested in telling stories at the Museum of the City of New York about cities in progress, not perfect cities,” Wilchfort said in a telephone interview.
Wilchfort, 47, will succeed Whitney Donhauser, who will retire at the end of 2022 to become the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s deputy curator and chief progress officer. Sarah Henry, who has served as interim curator since leaving the museum, will return to her role as chief curator and deputy curator.
William Vratos, chairman of the museum’s board of trustees, said in a statement that Wilchfort stood out from the pool of candidates because of his track record of winning the support of businesses, organizations and individuals. rice field.
This museum will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. The building was founded in 1923, just 25 years after the merger of Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens into New York City, and was originally located in the Gracie Mansion, later home to the mayor of the city. became. The museum has moved to its home in East Harlem. 1932, Fifth Avenue and 103rd Avenue.
Brooklyn native Wilchfort said the Museum of the City of New York was one of the first museums her mother, the daughter of immigrants who grew up in Washington Heights, remembers visiting as a child. Wilchfort said the museum was special to her because it felt like it reflected the city’s diversity and her own story.
“And I think the museum has an opportunity and an obligation to be that place for every New Yorker,” she said.
Visitor numbers at the museum have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Direct visitors last year were 139,000, down from 320,000 for the full year before the pandemic. Spokeswoman Merrill Cooper said school programs and international tourists have not fully returned.
During his eight years as curator of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum at Crown Heights, starting in 2015, Mr. Wilchfort oversaw a 30 percent increase in visitor numbers and a 50 percent increase in annual donation income. The museum will also fund projects such as opening a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on the ground floor of the museum, a 180-seat auditorium and cinema, a 20,000-square-foot roof terrace, and a 1,500-square-foot roof terrace. , raised $45 million in capital funding. foot art studio.
With a master’s degree in finance and international economic policy from Columbia University, Mr. Wilchfort previously served as vice president of development at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side, where he was responsible for fundraising, board development, and government. business, and government-related business. A $20 million capital campaign for the museum.
She will be in her new position in September.