Historical Society Selects New Executive Director

historydc.org | 2/27/2014, 4:02 p.m.
John Suau

John Suau, a widely recognized global expert in arts and collections management, cultural partnerships and diversity, will join the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., as executive director on March 3.

The Society's board of trustees unanimously approved Suau's appointment Feb. 20, following a six-month executive search. Over the past two years, with the help of interim management and search consulting services from the Arts Consulting Group, the Society has stabilized its finances, reopened its Kiplinger Research Library and restarted regular programming.

"We are incredibly lucky to have John on our team," said Julie Koczela, the board's chair. "He joins the Society at a very

exciting moment in our 120-year history and he brings with him all the professional tools, expertise, and contacts needed to expand the Society's mission into the 21st century. John will also help us navigate our potential partnership with Events DC and the International Spy Museum to redevelop the Society's home in the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square."

Suau is an accomplished arts administrator with a broad range of domestic and international experience. He served as executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, and as manager of Meetings, Professional Education, and Diversity for the D.C.-based American Alliance of Museums. In that role, he helped coordinate the only hemispheric conference about museums, cultural tourism, and sustainable communities.

"I am passionate about libraries, museums, and other collecting organizations and see this role as an opportunity of a lifetime," he said. "The Society's strengths in historic collections, publishing new research, and developing innovative programming help to position [the Society] to play a leading role in sharing Washington's rich history through new technology."

Suau's most recent collaborative projects include marketing two technology companies that assist museums, libraries, and archives with digital platforms. He has lived and studied in Italy and Spain where he worked with art galleries, publications, and film and television studios.

He also created and contributes to two popular web publications: "Museum of the Day," featuring outstanding cultural institutions around the world, and "John the Museum Guy," a weekly insider's look at visitor experiences.