The Morgan Library & Museum in New York has announced two new appointments to its leadership. Elizabeth Abbarno will join the museum as its new director of exhibition and collection management, a role which oversees the museum’s exhibition program and collection of art and artifacts. Historian and curator Jesse Erickson has been named curator and department head of printed books and bindings, succeeding John Bidwell, who has held the position since 1999 and will retire at the end of the year.
Abbarno comes to the Morgan from the Jewish Museum in New York, where she served as assistant director of exhibitions. Prior to that, she held several senior positions at the American Federation of Arts, where she worked from 2012 to 2019. Additionally, she helped steward the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and worked on the assessment and acquisition of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.
“I am thrilled to be joining such an accomplished team of museum professionals,” Abbarno said in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues in my department and across the museum in service of the care of the collection and the creation of the Morgan’s world-class exhibitions. I will seek to build on the institution’s reputation for excellence in the field, working to ensure that the Morgan is a standard-bearer for museum collection best practices and forging relationships through traveling exhibitions and other partnerships.”
In his new role, Erickson will be charged with stewarding the Morgan’s extensive library, which includes some of the earliest printed ephemera and best-preserved first editions of world classics. Most recently, he served the University of Delaware in the positions of coordinator of special collections and digital humanities, assistant professor in the department of English, and associate director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center. An expert in ethnobibliography and African American print culture, he has co-curated numerous shows [seemed like there was a word or phrase missing here, so I added] at the University including “I Am an American! The Authorship and Activism of Alice Dunbar-Nelson,” a 2020–21 online exhibition dedicated to the work of the American poet, journalist, and political activist. Erickson will assume his post in January 2022.
“With such a rich variety of exhibitions and programs, in this position I see the opportunity to join a global conversation about the importance of art, history, and culture, to expand the cultural narrative, and to enrich the direction of our field. Such ideas hold great significance for me,” Erickson said in a statement.