Marion Ackermann Named First Woman to Helm Berlin State Museums

14July 9, 2024

Marion Ackermann Named First …

Marion Ackermann, whosince 2016has served as general director of Dresden’s state museums, has been named president of thePrussian Cultural Heritage Foundation(SPK), theArt Newspaperreports. She is the first woman to occupy the role, in which she will oversee some 2,000 employees spread among libraries, archives, research organizations, and fifteen Berlin museums. Chosen unanimously by a finding committee, Ackermann will take the reins next June from retiring president Hermann Parzinger, who spent seventeen years in the post.

“Marion Ackermann is an excellent museums manager, art expert and strategist who is extremely well-connected both nationally and internationally,” said German culture minister Claudia Roth in a statement announcing Ackermann’s appointment. Roth went on to praise Ackermann’s ability to foster change, noting, “I am sure that she will bring the comprehensive reform of the SPK to an excellent conclusion and take the foundation into a sustainable and successful future with extraordinary expertise, new ideas and much energy.”

Ackermann arrives to an organization somewhat in disarray: A 2020 report by independent experts described the SPK as “dysfunctional” and “structurally overwhelmed,” beset by budget problems and chronically understaffed. As well, directors of the Berlin museums have accused the SPK of excessive bureaucracy, which they say hampers its ability to respond to problems quickly.

Prior to her work at Dresden, Ackermann for seven years served as artistic director of North Rhine-Westphalia’s art collections in Düsseldorf; before that, she was director of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, where in 2003 she became the youngest person ever to lead the museum. From 1995 to 2003, she was a curator at the Städtische Galerie at Munich’s Lennbauchhaus. An expert in twentieth-century and contemporary art, she earned her doctorate at the Georg-August University of Göttingen and has taught at several universities.