2017 August 2: Peale Center Appoints Nancy Proctor, PhD, Executive Director
(Baltimore, MD) — August 2, 2017 — The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture is pleased to announce the appointment of its first executive director, Nancy Proctor, PhD. Most recently, Nancy served as Deputy Director of Digital Experience and Communications at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and before that as head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution. She is co-chair of Museums and the Web (MW), the largest international conferences dedicated to innovation in the cultural sector, and she lectures and publishes widely on technology, accessibility, and transformation in museums.
“We are delighted to have Nancy Proctor as our new director,” said James D. Dilts, President of the Peale Center. “With a background in American art history, she combines traditional museum experience and a broad knowledge of the latest techniques of communication. We are very fortunate to have her expertise and exciting new ideas as we work to bring the Peale Museum into the 21st century.”
The Peale Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, is restoring and reopening to the public Baltimore’s Peale Museum, with the help of the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and private foundations and donors. Closed and largely vacant since 1997, the Peale is the oldest museum building in America and a National Historic Landmark. Rembrandt Peale opened it in 1814 as an art and natural history museum. The city-owned building has also served as our earliest City Hall, the first public high school for African American students in Baltimore, and the city’s municipal museum, commonly known as “the Peale.”
The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture aims to help people see Baltimore in a new light by serving as a production house for new narratives of the city. Nancy has developed the Peale’s core program, “Be Here: Baltimore,” as a platform for Baltimore’s diverse communities to share their authentic stories of the city and its places, and to enable them to be heard globally and locally. This digital cultural storytelling concept transforms the way oral history is produced and made relevant in the 21st century using contemporary tools and technology.
When the Peale’s renovation is complete in 2020, the historic building will host a Media Maker Space, enabling access for the city’s culture keepers to the resources and expertise they need to publish anything from mobile apps and virtual reality (VR) experiences, to exhibitions and documentary films. By supporting the city’s creators, the Peale aims to catalyze a new American Cultural Renaissance and help produce a more inclusive record of the city. The Peale will also be the go-to place for learning about Baltimore’s history and architecture, and the people who created the city we know today.
Plans call for the building to be completely restored and reopened to the public in 2020. Exhibitions and performances continue in the building while construction takes place outside: currently the roof is being replaced and exterior masonry restored by the City of Baltimore. The Peale will host a Founder’s Day Open House August 14-15 featuring drop-in tours and live storytelling with WYPR’s Aaron Henkin and neighbors from the 200 block of Holliday Street. Baker prize-winning artist, Lynne Parks, curates “Birdland and the Anthropocene,” at the Peale October 6-29, exploring the impact of the city’s architecture and the built environment on natural ecosystems. Following in November, Submersive Theater’s ground-breaking “H.T. Darling’s Incredible Musaeum Presents: The Treasures of New Galapagos, Astonishing Aquisitions from the Perisphere,” which appeared at The Peale Center this Spring, will return for a limited run.
The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture is generously supported by many individuals and organizations, including the State of Maryland, the Middendorf Foundation, the Macht Foundation, the Abell Foundation, the Riepe Family Foundation, the Baltimore City Historical Society, the Delaplaine Foundation, the City of Baltimore’s Department of General Services, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the Michael J. & Patricia K. Batza Foundation, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Baltimore National Heritage Area, and the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, creator of the Baker Artist Portfolios, www.BakerArtist.org.