History aficionado Dr. Susan Hanson, whose experience in U.S. museums includes positions at the Smithsonian Institution and history projects in seven states, has been named President of The West End Museum Board of Directors. She aims to increase the Museum’s public offerings, stabilize its finances and increase its visibility within Metro Boston and throughout New England.
“My long-term vision is for the Museum to become a key institution in urban renewal interpretation and research inspired by the experience of the original West Enders,” Hanson said.
Hanson has 30-plus years of comprehensive experience in the field. This includes her consulting service—History Behind the Scenes—through which she has worked with numerous museums and historic sites to develop strategic and interpretive plans.
Created in the years after urban renewal razed the immigrant neighborhood that stood as one of Boston’s original melting pots, the West End Museum is Boston’s only neighborhood museum and has evolved its mission, programming and leadership to play a more active role in the West End. Hanson has been volunteering for theMuseum since moving to Boston in September 2013, serving as Archivist. In December 2014, she joined the Advisory Board and began contributing to the strategic plan. Now, as Board President, Hanson is working to finalize that plan and advance theMuseum’s mission and operations.
“The West End Museum already has a number of factors in its favor. It has its own space, which is accessible and well-located, and has a dedicated volunteer staff and an established run of exhibits and programs,” said Hanson. “But it also faces concerns common to ‘new-ish’ museums: funding, visibility in a city filled with museums and the challenges of an all-volunteer staff. My objective is to help the Museum overcome those obstacles and truly thrive.”
Hanson holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland/College Park. She launched her career at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. Among many other achievements, she established the living history, education and collections management programs at Meadow Farm Museum; served as History and Historic Preservation Programs Supervisor in Henrico County, Virginia; and Director of Museum Operations and Acting Executive Director at the Frontier Culture of Virginia in Staunton, VA.
About the West End Museum:
The West End Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of the history and culture of the West End neighborhood. The Museum’s permanent exhibit, “The Last Tenement,” highlights the immigrant history of the neighborhood through its decimation under Urban Renewal in 1959; two additional galleries feature rotating exhibits. The Museum is located near North Station at 150 Staniford St. Suite 7. Hours: Tuesday – Friday 12:00pm – 5:00pm; Saturday 11:00am – 4:00pm. Admission is free.