George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Art Hires the Met’s Education Department Whiz as Its New Director

Sandra Jackson-Dumont will lead the new museum, which is set to open in late 2021.

Sandra Jackson-Dumont. Photo by Rebecca Schear.

After an eight-month search, Los Angeles’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, has named Sandra Jackson-Dumont as its new director and chief executive officer. She will leave her current role as head of education and public programs at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art,

Co-founded by filmmaker and Star Wars creator George Lucas and his wife, businesswoman Mellody Hobson, the $1 billion art museum is currently under construction, with the majority of the work expected to be completed by late 2021.

“Education is at the core of our mission, so it’s fitting that the director of the Lucas Museum be a deeply experienced museum educator,” Hobson said in a statement. “Sandra has more than two decades of experience in the field, and we believe she is the leader who will help bring our vision of creating an inspiring and accessible museum to life.”

The Lucas Museum will showcase the couple’s 100,000-item collection, which includes paintings, sculpture, photography, illustration, comic art, and Hollywood artifacts and memorabilia. Among the highlights are works by Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, and NC Wyeth, as well as objects from the Star Wars franchise, including the original Darth Vader mask.

Jackson-Dumont joined the Met in 2014, after eight years as the deputy director for education and public programs and adjunct curator in modern and contemporary art at the Seattle Art Museum. She has also previously worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Norman Rockwell, Shuffleton's Barbershop (1950). Courtesy of the Berkshire Museum.

Norman Rockwell, Shuffleton’s Barbershop (1950). Courtesy of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

“So much of the work that I’ve done either as a curator or as a programmer or as an administrator has been about, how do we make museums relevant and engaging and mean something to people’s everyday lives?” Jackson-Dumont told the Los Angeles Times. “I think that the objects that are in this amazing collection speak to opportunities to connect to visual storytelling in ways that make people really have discussions. So I’m excited about that.”

Jackson-Dumont succeeds Don Bacigalupi, the institution’s founding president, who joined the museum in 2017 after serving as president and executive director of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. He stepped down suddenly in February, and was initially supposed to continue on in a special advisor role, but is not affiliated with the museum at this time.

Rendering of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, courtesy of MAD Architects.

Rendering of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles. Image courtesy of MAD Architects.

After considering sites in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Lucas Museum initially announced plans to make its home in Chicago. But that arrangement fell through due to opposition from the local community, and Lucas selected Los Angeles as the final site in early 2017.

With that turmoil in the rear-view mirror, construction on the futuristic Ma Yansong-designed building from Beijing’s MAD Architects began in Exposition Park in March 2018.

When Jackson-Dumont begins her new job in January she will join curators Erin M. Curtis and Ryan Linkof and curatorial assistant Michelle Prestholt. Jackson-Dumon will ultimately lead a staff of 230.

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