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Williams Director of Penn Museum: Julian Siggers

May 1, 2012, Volume 58, No. 32

SiggersPresident Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Julian Siggers as Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, effective July 1, 2012. 

Dr. Siggers is currently vice president for programs, education, and content communication at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada’s largest research museum. He has also served as director of the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum and as head of narrative and broadcast development at the National Museum of Science and Industry in London. Dr. Siggers taught prehistoric archaeology for eight years at the University of Toronto, where he earned his PhD in 1997, with a specialization in Near Eastern prehistoric archaeology. 

“As we celebrate the Penn Museum’s 125th anniversary, Julian Siggers is the perfect director to lead the nation’s finest university archeological museum. Julian is deeply committed to the Museum’s essential missions of research, teaching, and public outreach and engagement. In addition, he has extensive experience with museum stewardship and growth,” said President Gutmann. “Julian is taking the helm at a time when the sterling reputation of the Penn Museum continues to grow with last year’s Secrets of the Silk Road exhibit and the spectacular 30th anniversary Maya Weekend just around the corner.”

Throughout his career, Dr. Siggers has been a pioneer in advancing public engagement with museums and archaeology. At the Royal Ontario Museum, he developed innovative initiatives designed to make the Museum a vital part of contemporary life and an inviting means of public education and discovery. He pursued new forms of exhibition, publication, programming, broadcasting, and digital media, including partnerships with government agencies and a weekly show on the Discovery Channel, and directed a Dead Sea Scrolls project that drew the Museum’s highest attendance in two decades. He was also an integral part of the team responsible for the Museum’s fundraising initiatives, especially during its highly successful $300 million capital campaign.

“Julian Siggers is one of the world’s leading figures in enhancing the vitality of museums and charting the future of museum practice,” said Provost Price.  “A committed scholar of prehistoric archaeology, he understands the importance of working collaboratively with faculty and scholars while expanding the reach of their work to new and non-traditional audiences.  I am confident that he will be a galvanizing force for advancing the Penn Museum across our campus, our city and state, and beyond.” 

Dr. Siggers earned a PhD in anthropology (archaeology division) from the University of Toronto (1997) and an MA in prehistoric archaeology (1988) and BA with honors in archaeology (1986) from the Institute of Archaeology at University College London. 

“As we welcome Julian,” added Provost Price, “we also express our gratitude to Richard Hodges for his dynamic leadership of the Museum over the past five years, and we wish him well in his new position as president of the American University of Rome.” 

Almanac - May 1, 2012, Volume 58, No. 32