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Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History Names Perri Irmer President and CEO

Perri Irmer.  VIA LINKEDIN


The DuSable Museum of African American History has announced the appointment of Perri Irmer, an attorney, architect, and facilities management professional, as its new president and CEO, effective September 14, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Irmer’s appointment will end a months-long absence in permanent leadership at the Chicago museum, which began when former president Carol Adams retired at the end of 2014. Irmer told the Tribune that she intends to focus on increasing the museum’s collaboration with the city’s other cultural institutions, including the Barack Obama Presidential Library. The article quotes her as saying, “I really see us working together very cooperatively, and see how we can assist each other and complement each other. It’s only a mutual enhancement of both institutions. It’s wonderful for everyone and we want to strike that balance.”

Not so long ago, the article says, DuSable board member, University of Chicago professor, and artist Theaster Gates had generated some controversy about a plan he had for the museum. From the article:

“DuSable board member Theaster Gates, a University of Chicago professor, outlined a proposal in which he and several U. of C. colleagues temporarily would oversee DuSable programming. Advocates and museum volunteers, organized as the Concerned Committee for the Support of Independent Black Cultural Institutions, angrily rejected Gates’ ideas and dismissed them as a stark departure from the vision of founder Margaret Burroughs.”

Irmer told the Tribune that she believed it is possible for the museum to find a happy medium between Burroughs’ original objectives and contemporary expansion ambitions:

“The museum was born out of the community and always will be part of the community. But having a partnership doesn’t mean that you’re giving away ownership and control of the museum.”

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