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Royal Ontario Museum Announces Appointment of Deputy Director for Collections & Research and Chief Innovation Officer


Josh Basseches, Director & CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), announced the appointment of Lynda Roscoe Hartigan as Deputy Director for Collections & Research and Chief Innovation Officer.

“Lynda is one of the museum sector’s most highly regarded and accomplished thought leaders and innovators,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “In addition to her extensive experience leading curatorial and collection teams across art, culture and nature, Lynda has demonstrated an exceptional ability, over the span of her career, for bringing innovative and transdisciplinary thinking to the museum practice. As we look towards reopening and making the ROM an even more essential cultural and community hub, Lynda’s in-depth experience makes her uniquely positioned to play a key role in our ongoing transformation and future success.”

As Deputy Director for Collections & Research, Hartigan will be responsible for the leadership, strategic vision and financial oversight of the ROM’s Curatorial and Collections division. She will also oversee the Library and Conservation areas as well as the Museum’s research and scholarly publishing activities. In her role as Chief Innovation Officer, Hartigan will lead the strategies that promote innovation at the Museum and bring creative and transdisciplinary ways of thinking to the ROM’s singular strengths across art, culture and nature. Reporting to the Director & CEO, and as a senior member of the Executive Leadership Team, Hartigan will play a critical role contributing to the overall direction-setting and strategic planning of the institution.

“I am thrilled to join the ROM, one of the world’s foremost 21st century museums, and to help develop innovative new ways of nurturing meaningful connections among art, culture, and nature,” says Hartigan. “I look forward to working with the ROM’s talented staff and robust collections, and advancing its progressive, inclusive and ambitious vision. My husband Roger and I are eager to explore all the vibrancy that Toronto, Ontario, and Canada have to offer.”

Previously, Hartigan held the position of The James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Deputy Director for the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts. She was PEM’s first Chief Curator in 2003 and became Deputy Director in 2016. While at PEM, she led an innovative, ambitious and award-winning curatorial and collections program. As Deputy Director, she was responsible for developing a strategic plan that reimagined the museum’s curatorial practice, introducing a comprehensive and integrated approach to research, publishing, collections planning, interpretation, and exhibitions. Among the highlights of her tenure, Hartigan oversaw the creation of a new 120,000 square foot collections centre and was involved in the evolution of PEM’s transdisciplinary Art and Nature Centre. In addition, Hartigan led the cross-functional interpretation and reinstallation of PEM’s collection in conjunction with the 2019 opening of a new wing of the museum.

Hartigan began her career at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Washington, D.C., where she rose from the position of curatorial assistant to become Chief Curator. In that role, she was responsible for developing the museum’s internationally recognized collection of American folk art and African American Art and advancing the museum’s celebrated reputation as a centre for innovative research, exhibitions and publications. Hartigan was also the founding curator of SAAM’s Joseph Cornell Study Centre, dedicated to the American modern artist about whom Hartigan is the world’s leading scholar.

Hartigan will be assuming the role upon the retirement of Mark Engstrom, who has made an extraordinary contribution to the Museum’s collection, research and science for more than 30 years, and who has served as Deputy Director for Collections & Research for the past 18 years.


Opened in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) showcases art, culture, and nature from around the globe and across the ages. One of North America’s most renowned cultural institutions, Canada’s largest museum is home to a world-class collection of more than 12 million objects and specimens, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. As the country’s preeminent field research institute and an international leader in new and original findings in biodiversity, palaeontology, earth sciences, the visual arts, material culture, and archaeology, the ROM plays a vital role in advancing our global understanding of the artistic, cultural, and natural world. The Renaissance ROM expansion project (2007) merged the iconic architectural heritage of the original building with the Studio Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. A distinctive new symbol of Toronto for the 21st century, the Lee-Chin Crystal marked the beginning of a new era for the ROM as the country’s premier cultural and social destination.

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