Thomas P. Campbell Named New Director Of FAMSF

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Thomas P. Campbell, the new director of FAMSF
Thomas P. Campbell, the new director of FAMSF

Photo Credit: Getty Rothschild Fellowship

Earlier this year, San Francisco patrons of the arts were shocked to learn that Max Hollein, the director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF), was leaving his position after just two years. Hollein received a job offer that he couldn’t refuse—to take over the vacant director role at New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). Now in an exciting twist of events, the FAMSF has announced that Thomas P. Campbell, who was the director of the Met from 2009 to 2017, will fill Hollein’s shoes as the new leader of the de Young and Legion of Honor effective November 1.

Max Hollein
Max Hollein

Photo Credit: Gary Sexton

The search for the new director began after Hollein broke the news that he was leaving in early April. FAMSF’s board of directors, including Dede Wilsey, performed an extensive search. “This is the fourth search I’ve done. It’s quite simple because you hire a search firm and you choose your search committee. You want to be sure it’s big and diverse. And in this case diverse, not just in the obvious ways but, for me, age is important because we have a lot of young people on our board and they are the future. So it’s important to have them well-represented,” Wilsey told Haute Living over the weekend. “We have two museums, so that makes it more complicated. We’re a city museum, and that makes it more complicated. But we did all that by the end of June. Then everybody scattered. In the summer here, you can’t accomplish anything. Plus, museum directors are all traveling, and they’re doing exhibitions and different things. So frankly in July and August, we did absolutely nothing.”

Contemporary Muslim Fashions is the current exhibit at the de Young
Contemporary Muslim Fashions is the current exhibit at the de Young

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

In early September when the majority of the board came back to attend the Symphony and Opera openings, the search continued and they found Campbell quickly. Campbell has spent over 30 years in the art industry and has dedicated his life to the study and promotion of art as a way of understanding human beings. In the year that he left the Met, Campbell was a Getty Rothschild Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and the Waddesdon Manor in the UK. He studied the impact of global changes on museums, so he has a keen eye on what may occur in the future.

Jack Calhoun, Dede Wilsey and Max Hollein at donor reception for "Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters" earlier this year
Jack Calhoun, Dede Wilsey, and Max Hollein at donor reception for “Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters” earlier this year

Photo Credit: Gary Sexton

Of his new position, Campbell said, “I am deeply gratified to take up the responsibility of leading the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It is a great privilege to become part of an institution with such outstanding curatorial expertise and famously loyal audiences and supporters, and I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to continue the great work done by my friend and predecessor Max Hollein. I am eager to begin collaborating with the Trustees, the staff, and the entire cultural network of San Francisco.” Welcome to San Francisco, Mr. Campbell, we can’t wait to see what you do!

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