March 26, 2019
Fundraising Leader Named at Norman Rockwell Museum

Ellen Spear
February 24, 2018 — The Norman Rockwell Museum, a Stockbridge nonprofit that houses the world's largest collection of paintings by the twentieth century chronicler of American life, this week announced it has appointed Ellen Spear to the newly created position of chief philanthropy officer.

Spear, who will join the Norman Rockwell Museum this summer, will lead the museum’s overall fundraising efforts, including preparing for a capital campaign and the museum’s 50th anniversary. She succeeds chief advancement officer Michelle Clarkin, who joined the development staff of Fordham University in Manhattan.

Laurie Norton Moffatt, the museum's director and CEO, said, “We are delighted to have Ellen Spear’s expertise and proven talents join our museum team to champion our path forward in this essential role. Ellen is a highly respected and accomplished leader who brings her nearly three decades of experience to this task and to a museum and community she knows and loves. We welcome her back to the Berkshires.”

Spear currently serves as president and CEO of Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communications and broadcast journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I am thrilled to be joining Norman Rockwell Museum, the leading museum of illustration in the nation, at a time when Rockwell and his work are more relevant than ever and the understanding of the importance of illustration is growing," said Spear. "I’m eager to help the museum achieve its exciting goals. Now is a critical time for the institution, as it announces its expansion plans for the new National Center for Illustration Education and Research, advancing historic preservation and adaptive reuse of an important historical building in Stockbridge.”

The museum recently announced plans to assess the feasibility of adapting the Old Stockbridge Town Hall as a National Center for Illustration Education and Research.

At Heritage Museums & Gardens, Spear led development and implementation of new strategic plans, increased earned revenue, including significant fundraising, refreshed and reinstalled permanent exhibitions, and increased audience engagement.

Previously she served as president and CEO of Hancock Shaker Village in the Berkshires, where she led a re-invention of the organization that was recognized by the Kresge Foundation with a $1 million Sector Leader grant to support its transition to a new business model.

She also has served as executive director of the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, director of advancement at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, and as program director of WGBH Radio in Boston.

Spear and Moffatt were co-founders of the Berkshire Creative Economy Council, which became a model for the statewide Massachusetts Creative Economy Council. Spear earlier served as program manager of one of four branch offices of the New York-based Nonprofit Facilities Fund, providing advisory, consulting, and financial services (grants and loans) to cultural organizations statewide for capital projects.

For the year ending June 30, 2016, Norman Rockwell Museum reported $5.7 million in revenue, of which $2.2 million came from contributions and grants, and $5.1 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

The museum, founded in 1969, is reported to be the most popular year-round cultural attraction in the Berkshires. Its collection of included 998 original Rockwell paintings and drawings and the Norman Rockwell Archives, a collection of more than 100,000 items, including working photographs, letters, personal calendars, fan mail, and business documents. During first 24 years it was located at the Old Corner House on Stockbridge’s Main Street. In 1993, the museum moved to its present location, a 36-acre site overlooking the Housatonic River Valley.

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