Change and expansion have become the name of the game at Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History since March 2016, when it was granted Smithsonian Affiliation status by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
That distinction signaled the beginning of a long-term collaborative partnership between the DuSable and the world’s largest museum and research complex. And now comes word that the museum has named Chicago cultural gadfly Lee Bey its first-ever vice president for planning, education and museum experience.
In joining the leadership team of the nation’s oldest independent African American museum, Bey, a native Chicagoan and graduate of Columbia College, will oversee the museum’s education department, its collections staff and exhibitions, and several strategic initiatives and museum planning projects.
In a prepared statement Wednesday, Perri Irmer, president and CEO of the DuSable Museum, said Bey “comes to the DuSable Museum during a truly exciting time in our history, with a museum expansion on the horizon, the recognition of our position as one of the major institutional partners driving economic development on the South Side, and with so many great opportunities to utilize Lee’s broad-based talent and experience.”
Bey noted: “It’s an honor to join this historic institution, particularly now with its re-energized leadership, focus and mission.”
Bey’s work experience includes serving as architecture critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and as a deputy chief of staff to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. As Director of Governmental Affairs in the Chicago office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill, he worked as chief governmental expert and an in-house consultant on urban design issues. An adjunct faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bey also is an architectural photographer and curator.