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Museum Director, Gary Morgan, Ph.D.

Gary John Morgan becomes Michigan State University Museum director Sept. 14, 2009, overseeing the science and culture museum and the state's first Smithsonian Institution affiliate.

Morgan, a native of Australia, has more than 25 years of experience in museum leadership and administration, research and collections management, and wildlife conservation. He previously served as executive director of the Western Australian Museum in Perth, including the Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle History Museum and other public sites across that state.
Throughout his career, Morgan has worked with collections, and research and learning programs that span anthropology, history, fine arts, technology and the natural sciences. His position at Michigan State University will be his first in the U.S.

Ideas and excitement

Good museums are about the ideas and excitement they generate in diverse audiences, according to Morgan.
"In the university context, the museum can be a gateway to what that university embodies. In the case of MSU, that means the core values of excellence in scholarship and learning," he observes. "What excites me most is the MSU commitment to making that scholarship readily available, meaningful and relevant to the broadest of communities, within the USA and abroad." adds Morgan.
"It is precisely in this niche that the MSU Museum has its key role as a unique and dynamic element of that public outreach. I am impressed with what the MSU Museum has achieved, and working with museum staff, faculty and community supporters, I hope to build upon that foundation and expand the scope and reach of the museum's impacts," he adds.
Morgan holds a Ph.D. in zoology from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He was director of collections and research at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, associate director of the Australian Museum in Sydney, and has worked as a national parks and wildlife manager and wilderness conservation officer. Earlier in his work life, he was a researcher with the Department of Aquatic Invertebrates at the Western Australia Museum and at the Museum of Victoria.

International perspectives and the human experience

Morgan brings with him extensive international experience, particularly in Africa and the Arabian Gulf region. He joins the MSU Museum after working most recently as a heritage advisor and project manager for the Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art in Mua, Malawi, Africa, and as a strategic planner for the Sharjah Museums Department in the United Arab Emirates.
Says Morgan: "Living and working in diverse communities has reinforced to me what many, far wiser, commentators have observed before - just how different human societies can be, and just how fundamentally similar we all are as human beings. It is this tension of the like and unlike - the awkward, unsettling, surprising, puzzling, frustrating, embarrassing, sometimes dangerous, always wonderful tension - that defines the human experience.
"As one of America's largest and most diverse universities, MSU engages actively with much of that human experience," he notes. "I hope to work with the museum staff, university faculty and students, and the community members who believe in what MSU is about, to contribute meaningfully to the university's future. Ultimately, I love what museums are doing to make the world a more informed and aware place, where minds are excited, where people understand better both their heritage and their options for the future," adds Morgan.

About the MSU Museum

The MSU Museum is Michigan's natural science and culture museum and the state's first Smithsonian Institution affiliate. The MSU Museum -- accredited by the American Association of Museums -- collects, preserves, studies and interprets cultural artifacts and natural science specimens, with collections numbering more than 1 million in four buildings on the MSU campus. One of the oldest museums in the United States, the MSU Museum is committed to education, exhibitions, research and the building and stewardship of collections that focus on Michigan and its relationship to the Great Lakes and the world beyond.
The MSU Museum maintains interdepartmental, and cross-disciplinary linkages across campus, with faculty-curators and specialists who develop research and fieldwork, educational programs, exhibitions and partnerships with the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts & Letters, Natural Science and Social Science, as well as programmatic partners in International Studies and Programs, Communication Arts and Sciences, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and others.
MSU Museum exhibitions provide innovative learning resources for lifelong exploration and engaged scholarship of culture, creativity, nature, science, humanity, and technology that seek to strengthen communities and inspire global stewardship of natural and cultural resources. Through its traveling exhibitions, virtual outreach education programs, collections research and loans, and ongoing fieldwork and study, the MSU Museum is engaged with campus, the community, the country and the world.
The MSU Museum is also a strong force in Michigan State University's vibrant arts and culture network, providing a catalyst for cultural exchange of diverse ideas and inspiration. Audiences on campus and around the world take advantage of academic and research outreach programs and partnerships with public broadcasting, online resources, and publications.
The MSU Museum features three floors of special collections and changing exhibits and is open seven days a week free of charge (donations are encouraged). Located on West Circle Drive next to Beaumont Tower on the MSU campus, the MSU Museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. Hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. -5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Visitor parking is available in front of the building and at metered spaces at the Grand River Ramp, one block away at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Charles Street. For more information call (517) 355-2370.
From MSU Today on Impact Radio, September 18, 2009
The State News, September 17, 2009
WKAR News, September 15, 2009
MSU Museum's Gary Morgan on "AM Lansing with Walt Sorg"
WILS 1320-AM
Tuesday, September 22, 2009