BMA Director Doreen Bolger to Retire

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Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post
Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post

After 17 years, Doreen Bolger will retire as Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, according to an announcement issued Wednesday.

Bolger, whose tenure began in 1998, will officially step down on June 30. The BMA Board is initiating a national search for the next director.

If you’re looking for things to thank Bolger for, look no further than the first foot you set in the museum. When she started, the museum’s grand front entrance was still closed, and visitors had to pay to get in. Now, admission is free and the doors of the Merrick Grand Entrance have been thrown open.

The 66-year-old Bolger steps down as the museum is in the midst of the final phase of a $28 million renovation project. Later this fall, a new center for learning and creativity will also open at the museum.

During her tenure, the museum’s focus also modernized. Under Bolger’s leadership, the BMA put more emphasis on modern art from the 19th century to the present. She also sought to expand the museum’s permanent collection, acquiring works by Henri Matisse, works by African American artists and contemporary works by the likes of Nick Cave and Kerry James Marshall.

“It is wonderful to leave the museum at such a high point in its history. I am honored to have served this amazing institution with such dedicated colleagues, Trustees, and volunteers, with so many generous and loyal supporters and patrons,” Bolger said in a statement. “I look forward to the BMA’s continued success—and to my own pursuit of projects I feel passionate about, in this community and in the field.”

For more on her vision, check out Baltimore Fishbowl’s Big Fish Q&A with Doreen Bolger.


Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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