Richard P. Townsend

Richard P. Townsend’s appointment as executive director of the Driehaus Museum has signaled a new era for the institution. Through his leadership, he hopes the Driehaus will become a place where visitors can come and learn about the glories of the Gilded Age but also about the realities of that time: class, racial and economic disparities.  “We want to be a convener, collaborator and interrogator to stimulate these timely conversations through insightful exhibitions, public programs, and tours,” says Townsend. 

Mr. Townsend is an art historian and experienced museum professional whose career has taken him to institutions across the country to executive roles at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, the Pérez Art Museum in Miami and the Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Prior to the Driehaus, he was the last serving executive director at New York’s Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA); under his leadership, MOBIA enhanced its engagement with the public, developing innovative exhibitions and partnerships, deepening the range of its educational and public programs, and further strengthening its highly successful fundraising initiatives. At MOBIA, Townsend also strengthened international cultural engagement, spearheading the development of an unprecedented partnership with the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo to bring an exhibition of monumental sculptures by Donatello and other early Renaissance masters to the United States for the first time.

Townsend believes that his role as a director is to facilitate the work of talented staff and scholars to produce meaningful and memorable programs and exhibitions. “We are blessed that the Museum has received tremendous support from our network of members and constituents who have continued to uplift this institution and its mission for years,” he says, “I hope to build on that connection and deepen the Museum’s ties to our constituents, members, and the community.”