Monday February 14, 2011

Berkshire Eagle Staff

PITTSFIELD -- The Berkshire Museum’s executive director, Stuart Chase, is leaving the institution March 11 to pursue other "interests and challenges in the nonprofit field," according to an announcement today by the board of directors.

"The board has accepted Stuart’s resignation with regret and wishes him well in his future endeavors," the board’s president, Mary Huth, said in a news release announcing the move. Chase "has made significant contributions during his tenure, reinvigorating the Museum and successfully positioning the institution as a cultural and educational leader in our community."

The museum’s board of directors is launching a national search for his successor. Until a permanent executive is hired, Maria Mingalone, the museum’s director of interpretation, will be serve as interim director.

"Stuart’s been a great colleague and truly a mentor to me," Mingalone said in the news release. "He has put us on firm footing to keep moving forward even as he moves on to new challenges. It’s already been a great start to the year, and all of us at the museum are excited to keeping moving forward together."

Chase is the third leader of a major Berkshire cultural organization to announce their departure since Sept. 1. David Fleming left Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre as its director in September 2010, while Hancock Shaker Village’s President and CEO Ellen Spear announced last week she was leaving executive director of Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich at the end of March.


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The Berkshire Museum’s news release continued: "Chase’s six-year tenure at Berkshire Museum was a time of great growth for the institution, including the successful launch and completion of a $10.3 million Capital Campaign, conception and construction of the 3,000-square-foot Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation and other improvements to the physical plant, creation of a $6 million acquisition fund to build the museum’s uncommonly diverse collection, and a heightened emphasis on nurturing the next generation of artistic innovators through the creation of a residency program, new display spaces in the museum for contemporary and modern artworks, and similar initiatives."