August 17, 2019
Thomas Putnam to Be Executive Director of Concord Museum

Thomas Putnam
May 12, 2018 — The Concord Museum, which seeks to educate visitors about the town's history, recently announced that Thomas J. Putnam has been named executive director of the 132-year-old nonprofit.

Putnam, who will assume his new duties on June 4, succeed Margaret R. Burke, who recently retired after seven years.

“Tom is an accomplished museum leader, educator, and visionary and we are very excited to welcome him as the new director of this treasured institution,” stated Ralph Earle, vice president of the board of governors and chair of the search committee of the Concord Museum.

Putnam, who currently serves as director of education and public programs at the National Archives and Records Administration, was selected as executive director following a nationwide search.

“I am thrilled and honored to join the extraordinary staff at the Concord Museum at this transformational moment in the museum’s history,” said Putnam. “I am excited to develop creative avenues to consider how the lessons of Concord’s history can illuminate our times.”

In 2017, he served as director of presidential libraries and managed the nation’s modern presidential library system, including the 14 federally-managed libraries from Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama.

Earlier, he spent more than 15 years at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, ultimately rising to director, a position in which he served for eight years. During his tenure, the library launched the nation’s first digital presidential archive and the Kennedy Library Forums were recognized as among the finest speaker series in Boston. He also managed the design and construction of a $30 million building addition project and directed the $2.8 million redesign of the Library’s permanent galleries. During his tenure, the library’s retained earnings grew from $4 million to $11 million.

Earlier in his career Putnam worked as a high school history teacher in Maine and from 1992 to 1999 served as the Northfield Mount Hermon Upward Bound director, assisting low-income high school students from Hartford, Springfield, and Holyoke to be the first in their families to attend college.

Putnam holds an undergraduate degree in government and education from Bowdoin College. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and served as a Fulbright research fellow in Senegal, West Africa. Putnam was also a Thomas J. Watson Fellow in Quebec, Canada and a Harry S. Truman Scholar.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Tom Putnam’s caliber lead the Concord Museum during this transformative time with the opening of the Education Center and the upcoming Museum gallery renovation. He has strong experience as a leader, scholar, and a commitment to the community and the underserved,” said Churchill Franklin, president of the museum’s board of governors.

The Concord Museum recently released a detailed building master plan, and plans to open a 12,900-square-foot education center in September, which will enable the museum to meet growing demand for its school and public programs that serves 17,000 people annually.

Beginning in July, the museum will begin Phase II of the project, which includes upgrades to its gallery infrastructure and a new entranceway.

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