Campus & Community

HMNH names Elisabeth Werby as executive director

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Elisabeth Werby (Photo by D. Finnin)

The Harvard Museum of Natural History (HMNH) has named Elisabeth Werby its new executive director. Currently senior director of government relations and strategic project development at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York, Werby will join the HMNH in July. The HMNH presents the research and collections of Harvard’s three natural history institutions to the public: the Harvard University Herbaria, the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), and the Mineralogical and Geological Museum.”Liz Werby comes to Harvard at a moment of great promise and potential for the HMNH, and she has the talent and experience to lead the museum during the next phase of its development,” said James Hanken, director of the MCZ and chair of the HMNH Advisory Board. “I look forward to working with her to make the HMNH one of the finest university-based public museums of natural history in the country.”Werby has broad experience in the not-for-profit sector and in museum management. At the AMNH, her responsibilities spanned the functions of the museum and included designing and managing new programmatic initiatives, developing funding strategies, and overseeing the development and implementation of institutional grants. Prior to joining the AMNH, she was senior director for policy at the New York City Partnership, an organization dedicated to enhancing New York City’s economy.”With access to extraordinary collections and world-renowned research, and a distinguished history, , the HMNH is in a unique position to enhance public understanding of the natural world and our place in it. The museum has made tremendous strides in expanding its impact and its outreach over the past several years. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to build on this momentum,” said Werby. Werby grew up in West Roxbury and Brookline, and graduated from Harvard in 1972 with a concentration in anthropology. She earned a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a practicing attorney for more than 10 years in Alaska and New York, specializing primarily in public interest law.Werby replaces Joshua Basseches who went to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem in October. Leah MacIntosh, associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, has been our acting executive director since then.