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Incoming Gilcrease director says "museum experience" goes beyond new building

Brian Lee Whisenhunt at a press conference on Friday, February 23, 2024.
Elizabeth Caldwell
Brian Lee Whisenhunt at a press conference on Friday, February 23, 2024.

The next head of the Gilcrease Museum says he's looking beyond just the new building.

At a press conference Friday, incoming Executive Director Brian Whisenhunt told reporters he's eager to begin work with his hometown art institute.

"I'm very excited to join Gilcrease at this pivotal time," he said.

"I feel that the experiences I've had, the work that I've done at museums across the country and the experiences I had as a young person has all led to this moment."

Whisenhunt previously served as head of the Smithsonian-affiliate Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York for seven years. He also served as Board President of the Museum Association of New York.

In addition to the construction of Gilcrease's new building, Whisenhunt said he wants to bolster the museum's events and activities to better connect with the surrounding community.

"We still have to think about: what will be the museum experience?" he said, "what are the activities, the programs?"

"How do you maintain those connections?"

Whisenhunt will assume his duties as executive director beginning April 15.

The City of Tulsa manages Gilcrease in partnership with the University of Tulsa (TU).

Note: TU holds the broadcast license for KWGS.

KWGS' Elizabeth Caldwell contributed to this story.

Ben Abrams is a news reporter and All Things Considered host for KWGS.
Check out all of Ben's links and contact info here.