Marty Sullivan Steps Down as Director of the National Portrait Gallery

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  • At the end of May 2012, Marty (Martin E.) Sullivan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), steps down from his position due to health reasons. As of June 4, 2012, Sullivan becomes the Senior Scholar at the Smithsonian.
  • As director, Sullivan guided the museum's mission to focus on American portraiture as a medium of visual biography. During his tenure (2008-2012), the "museum expanded its works created by commissions, from portraits of presidents and first ladies to also include portraits of notable Americans such as Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Alice Waters." Exhibits including: "The Struggle for Justice," zHide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," zGertrude Stein: Five Stories," zThe Black List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders," and "Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter" were installed.
  • Prior to coming to the NPG, Sullivan served as Chief Executive Officer of the Historic St. Mary's City Commission in Maryland. Earlier, he was Director of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona; Director of the New York State Museum in Albany, N.Y.; and chaired three national boards concerned with advancing museum standards, ethics and practices: the Accreditation Commission of the American Association of Museums, the U.S. State Department's Cultural Property Advisory Committee and the review committee overseeing compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.


  • Sullivan, Martin E (Martin Edward) 1944-
  • National Portrait Gallery (U.S.)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


SI Email Announcements, "Marty Sullivan to Step Down as Director of the Portrait Gallery, May 7, 2012."

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


May 2012


  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Retirement
  • Museum directors
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees


Washington (D.C.)

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