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Richard Leventhal: Stepping Down as Museum Director,
Launching New Cultural Property Initiative
October 24, 2006, Volume 53, No. 9

Dr. Richard M. Leventhal, the Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, has announced his intention to step down from the directorship effective November 1, 2006. Dr. Leventhal will continue as a tenured faculty member in the School of Arts and Sciences, will be a curator in the Museum, and will launch a new initiative within the Museum focusing on national and international issues of cultural heritage and cultural property preservation. 

Dr. Leventhal joined Penn Museum on July 1, 2004 after serving three years as president and chief executive officer of the School of American Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1993 to 2001, he served as director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, where he was associate professor of anthropology. Dr. Leventhal’s research focuses on ancient Mayan civilization and culture. He has written numerous monographs, books, reports and articles, and has served as co-editor of Archaeology in the Mediterranean: The Present State and Future Scope of a Discipline.

“Under Richard’s leadership, we have been able to take critical steps in developing a master plan for the Museum, in initiating an international research conference program at the Museum that brings together scholars from multiple disciplines, and in developing new exhibitions and public programs in partnership with other major regional cultural institutions. I have been aware for some time that Richard is passionate about the need to confront and engage in complex issues surrounding the world’s endangered cultural and material heritage, and am grateful and pleased that he has agreed to spearhead this important initiative,” said Provost Ronald Daniels.

Dr. Jeremy A. Sabloff, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and curator of the American section of Penn Museum, will serve as Interim Director. From 1994-2004, Dr. Sabloff served as the Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Dr. Sabloff is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the ancient Mayan civilization. His other research interests include archaeological theory, the history of American archaeology, pre-industrial cities and settlement pattern studies.

Dr. Sabloff will serve as Interim Director until a search is completed. Details of the search for the next Director will be forthcoming in a future Almanac issue.

Almanac - October 24, 2006, Volume 53, No. 9