Building on its commitment to expand access and upend conventional narratives, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art today launches Remuseum. This independent research-and-results-driven project aims to spur innovation across U.S. art museums.
Inspired and supported by entrepreneur and arts patron David Booth, powered by Crystal Bridges, and with additional support from the Ford Foundation, Remuseum is a three-year project designed to help U.S. museums fully embrace their missions by developing new approaches to relevance, governance, and financial sustainability.
“From our inception at Crystal Bridges, we started by breaking conventions – launching a major museum in America’s Heartland built on the foundational idea of radical access to amazing art experiences. And we’re not done. We’re constantly learning and adapting,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity & inclusion officer. “With David Booth’s support, Alice Walton’s vision, and Stephen Reily’s ingenuity, we look forward to the work that Remuseum will do to inspire a similar spirit of innovation among museums across the country, including our own.”
Remuseum will be led by Founding Director Stephen Reily, an attorney and entrepreneur who served as Director of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky from 2017 to 2021. At the Speed, Reily invigorated a newly renovated museum with a mission of public service and dramatically increased both contributed revenue and accessibility. During his tenure, the Speed worked with Guest Curator Allison Glenn and Community Engagement Strategist Toya Northington to present the exhibition Promise, Witness, Remembrance, cited as a model of relevance as the museum responded in real time to the killing of Breonna Taylor and a year of protests in Louisville. In 2022, Reily, Glenn, and Northington co-wrote a book documenting the exhibition and that work. A longtime supporter of museums and the arts, Reily currently serves on the Boards of the Creative Capital Foundation and the American Federation of Arts.
“Three or four decades ago, most American art museums had mission statements focused on the preservation and presentation of objects to people,” said Reily. “Today, the mission statements of even very traditional museums prioritize serving and engaging people with art. Because the resources, incentives, and policies that govern the field remain heavily weighted in outdated models, the resulting tension puts museums at risk, both of failing to fulfill their public-facing new missions, or of failing altogether. Remuseum will use data to provoke new ways of aligning museums’ work with their missions – and most importantly, the communities they serve.”
Said David Booth, “The business I founded, Dimensional Fund Advisors, applies academic research to practical investing. I am excited to see how Remuseum will apply research to museums, and I hope it will inspire museum boards and leaders to approach their work in new ways.”
A graduate of Yale College and Stanford Law School, Stephen Reily clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens before beginning his career as an entrepreneur, co-founding IMC Licensing, a global leader in brand licensing that has generated over $6 billion in consumer product sales for the Fortune 500 brands it represents. He is also the co-founder of Curated Media, built on the premise that people are more powerful than algorithms; its flagship is the fashion and beauty app, Clickher. As a social entrepreneur, Reily was longtime Chair of the Greater Louisville Project, which for 20 years used data to catalyze civic progress in Louisville, and he partnered with the Louisville Urban League to create the Reily Reentry Program to support expungement programs for citizens of Kentucky.
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