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Newark Museum Director Says Decision to Come to NJ Was Easy

2-20-14

The Newark Museum has received some new additions, including a new director. Newark Museum Director and CEO Steven Kern told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that his decision to take the job at the museum was an easy one to make.

“This is one of the most distinguishing museums of the early 20th century and founded by real visionary of the role of museums in communities and it was a great pleasure and honor to apply for the job then get to be in John Cotton Dana’s museum in Newark,” said Kern.

Kern said that the Newark Museum is one of the biggest museums in the country and that it has one of the biggest collections anywhere. The museum was the first to collect African art back in 1915, said Kern. According to Kern, the Newark Museum also has American art that tells the entire history of the United States and of the Americas before it.

Outside of the state, Kern says that the Newark Museum is well known. As for getting visitors from New Jersey, Kern said that sometimes people have not been to a museum since they were in school and that it’s one of the issues the museum needs to address in order to get visitors.

When it comes to getting the word out about the museum, Kern said that social media has helped and that it allows museum personnel to engage with people about exhibitions.

The Newark Museum was one of the first in the state to feature a planetarium and the museum also features a science and natural history exhibit. Kern says that the planetarium gives the opportunity to connect with schools and eduction. During the last year, about 51,000 students visited the museum, according to Kern.

Now that Kern has been named the new director of the museum, he said that one of the missions is to make the museum stable and self sustaining.

Currently the museum is working on new exhibits. It will open a Norman Rockwell exhibit in March.

“We’ve got some other ideas especially with exhibitions that bridge old and new, that mix up media a little bit, that build bridges between areas,” said Kern. “There’s been a lot of that but we’re going to see a lot more coming out of the Newark Museum.”

Currently the museum has the original Vince Lambardi trophy on display since the most recent Super Bowl was played at MetLife Stadium.

“How often do you see the headline in the newspaper, Super Bowl and art museum at the same time? This is one of those things that a museum like Newark can pull of because of the resources available,” said Kern.