Good Life

Palmer Museum of Art director retires

On Thursday, Jan Muhlert said goodbye to 20 years at the Palmer Museum of Art.

Under Muhlert, the museum underwent a renovation that created a new 3,100-square-foot gallery — which probably came in handy when it came time to display the 4,000 objects that were added to its collection during the same time frame.

It’s been a busy couple decades, and the director has earned a break. To find out more about her plans for the future, read Muhlert’s answers below.

Q: When you first became director, what were some of your goals?

A: I hoped to strengthen the museum’s collection of American art by acquiring more works of art by important artists, such as Mark Tobey, Will Barnet, Arthur Dove, George Luks and William Merritt Chase.

Q: Why is now the right time for you to leave?

A: I’ve been working in the art museum field for 50 years. It’s time for me to step aside and let someone new bring their creative ideas to fruition at the museum.

Q: What do you think you’ll miss the most?

A: The lively atmosphere around the offices.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice that you could impart to the next director?

A: Keep reminding our community that the museum is here and always has free admission.

Q: Where is your favorite place to stand in the museum?

A: The William Hull Gallery, which has many of my favorite artists’ works on view.

Q: Is there a collection or piece of art that you wish you could take home with you?

A: No, the collection should be shared with everyone who visits. So, I will come to the museum to see my favorites.

Q: When you look back at your time with the museum, what are you most proud of?

A: The 2002 renovation of the original building that created the Hull Gallery and print study room and the many gifts of American art from so many generous donors.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: (Rest and relaxation) and 20 years of personal projects I couldn’t get done while I was working.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready