Elaine Gurian

Elaine Gurian- Biografía

Elaine Heumann Gurian is a consultant/advisor to a number of museums and visitor centers that are beginning, building or reinventing themselves. Her current clients include the Museum of the City of London, UK, the Museum of Resistance, Dominican Republic, the Capital Visitor Center, Washington DC and the National Children’s Museum, Washington DC, In the past she has worked as a senior consultant to the following projects; Nassau Country Museum Service, New York; the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, The National Discovery Museum, Thailand, National Museum of Australia, the Jewish Museum Berlin, CIRMA, the national archive of Guatemala, Te Papa; the Museum of New Zealand, the Museum of World Cultures, Gothenburg Sweden, and the Dubai Municipality Children’s Museum. She is a partner of Interim Museum Services, which places interim directors in museums.

Ms. Gurian is a teacher, trainer and lecturer at many academic and in-service programs of museum studies worldwide. In 2007 she was named a recipient of a Fulbright three month resident Scholarship for training museum professionals in Argentina. In 2006, Gurian was named to a three year term as Visiting Scholar at the University of Michigan Graduate Program in Museum Studies, Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2007 she was part of the week long training faculty for the Fund for Arts and Culture in Bucharest, Romania. Ms. Gurian regularly teaches a module at Museion, the museum graduate program of the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Ms. Gurian is widely published and is currently working on chapters in two upcoming volumes. In 2006, Routledge published her volume, Civilizing the Museum: the Collected Writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian. She is editor for the volume. Institutional Trauma: The Effect of Major Change on Museum Staff and currently on the editorial board of the journal, Curator.

In 2006 Elaine Heumann Gurian was inducted as one of the 100 Centennial Honor Roll members by the American Association of Museums, who also honored her with the Distinguished Service to Museums Awards in 2004, the most prestigious recognition in the American museum profession. In 1993, Elaine Heumann Gurian was chosen as “Outstanding Learning Disabled Achiever Award” from the Lab School of Washington and “The Distinguished Service Alumni Award for the Class of 1958” from Brandeis University. Gurian was awarded the “Museum Educator’s Award for Excellence” in 1985.

In 2008, Gurian was elected to a three year term to the board of ICOM/US. She is the immediate past president of the Museum Group, an association of independent museum consultants and has served on the Advisory Arts Council to the President of Brandeis University. In the past, Gurian has been elected Treasurer, Vice President, and Councilor-At-Large for the American Association of Museums (AAM), board member of the American chapter of the International Council on Museums (AAM/ICOM),a regional representative of the Museum Education Committee (AAM/EdCom) and Vice President of the International Museum Education Committee (ICOM/CECA). She was appointed a member of the AAM task force on education which created Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums.

Ms. Gurian is a frequent speaker. In 2009 she was a key note speaker for the Irish Museum Association conference and was one of five keynote speakers at the ICOM triennial conference in Vienna, Austria in 2007.

Ms. Gurian has served as the Acting Director of the Cranbrook Institute of Science during construction, redesign and installation of the museum between the death of the former director and the appointment for the new one from 1997-1999.

From 1991 to 1994, she was the Deputy Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened to the public in April 1993. Her responsibilities included creating and coordinating the systems that converted the institution from a startup development organization to a fully operational government museum, overseeing finance and budget with an annual allocation in excess of $34 million.

During 1990 and 1991, Ms. Gurian served as Deputy Director for Public Program Planning for the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. She concentrated on planning the move of the existent museum to the United States Custom House and oversaw the architectural program planning for building a new collections storage facility and Mall museum in Washington, D.C. She was responsible for coordinating a series of 14 consultations with the Native community.

From 1987 to 1990, Gurian was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Museums at the Smithsonian, providing oversight for all 14 Smithsonian museums with a combined annual Federal appropriation of approximately $120 million. Among her other activities, she was responsible for the creation and supervision of the African American museum development project and the Experimental Gallery.

For sixteen years (1972 - 1987), Elaine Heumann Gurian was the Director of the Exhibit Center, the public facility of the Boston Children’s Museum. The Boston Children’s Museum, during these years, was known for exhibition and program experimentation fostering enhanced family learning and service-oriented programs such as a therapeutic teenage work program for court and school identified youth and a comprehensive special needs visitation program.

From 1969 to 1972, Elaine Heumann Gurian was the Director of Education at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, MA, where she was in charge of building community controlled playgrounds during a period immediately following civil unrest. In addition she helped create RECYCLE, a program and shop that recirculates manufactured leftovers to schools and individuals which continues at the Boston Children’s Museum.

In her early career she served as the art teacher for kindergarten through 6th grade at the Solomon Schechter School in Newton, Massachusetts. Elaine Heumann Gurian holds a B.A.in art history from Brandeis University and a M.Ed. in elementary education and art education from State College at Boston.

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