The Board of Trustees and staff of the Berkshire Museum are delighted to welcome Dr. David Ellis to the team! On June 28, it was announced that Ellis would become the interim executive director of the Berkshire Museum, following the retirement of Van Shields, who had been executive director of the Museum since September 2011. Ellis will lead the Museum while a search is underway for a permanent executive director.
“I look forward to working with the Berkshire Museum at a difficult time and as they are looking for a new Executive Director,” says Ellis, who lives in the Boston Area. “The Museum has a long distinguished history of serving Pittsfield and surrounding areas with exhibits in art, history/culture and science. After a long planning process, the Museum is looking forward with a new vision and interpretive plan that I find exciting. The people, board and staff, I have met are impressive.”
Ellis brings a tremendous wealth of skill and wisdom to the Museum, based on his almost 30 years of experience in the museum field. His background is an ideal fit for the Berkshire Museum and its mission of “making inspiring educational connections among art, history, and natural science.” He served as president of the Museum of Science from 1990 to 2002; as interim president of the Boston Children’s Museum; and interim executive director of the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
Over his long career Ellis has developed particular expertise in planning, organizational development, board relations/governance, fundraising and administration/operations. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Boards of Advisors for the MIT Museum and the University of New Hampshire Art Museum.
In addition to his extensive work in museums, Ellis was president of Lafayette College from 1978 to 1990, and prior to that he was vice president/vice provost for academic affairs and a faculty member at the University of New Hampshire. During his professional life, Ellis has been involved with national organizations such as Elderhostel (now Road Scholar), National Science Foundation Directorate on Education and Human Resources, Association of Science Technology Centers, Giant Screen Theatre Association, and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He has also served on accreditation panels for science centers and institutions of higher education. He has a BA from Haverford College, a PhD in chemistry from MIT, and a certificate from the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School.
Ellis has started his tenure at the Museum and plans on spending significant time each week in Pittsfield. “I anticipate working with the Board of Trustees, the museum leadership, and the staff to make the transition that secures the course to a strong and sustainable future,” Ellis says.