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March 13, 2019

CT Historical Society appoints N. Mexico museum exec. as CEO

Photo | The Connecticut Historical Society Robert Kret has been tapped as the new CEO of The Connecticut Historical Society.

The Connecticut Historical Society (CHS), a Smithsonian affiliate, has named a museum director from New Mexico as its chief executive.

The Hartford-based nonprofit and educational organization’s board of trustees on Tuesday afternoon announced Robert Kret, former director of The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., will take over as CEO in May. He will replace Jody Blankenship, who resigned in October to take a job in Indiana.

Kret will be tasked with overseeing the organization’s museum, library and Edgar F. Waterman Research Center in Hartford.

He has held numerous leadership roles across the country, but his professional career began in the Northeast in museum administration at the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, which is now known as Historic New England, in Boston. There, he helped manage 24 historic properties in five states.

Kret then served as director for five museums, with stops in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and  Tennessee before spending the last nine-plus years at The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico, where he managed two historic properties, over 3,000 works of arts, 15,000 objects, a library and archive, and conservation activities.

CHS officials said he helped generate over $2 million in annual donations, increased annual visits at the galleries in Santa Fe to more than 175,000 and led the design and construction of a new visitor center an hour north in Abiquiu, N.M, that opened in 2018.

“Connecticut has always stood as a culturally significant place and the CHS is home to countless treasures that hold regional and national interest and importance,” Kret said Tuesday.

A frequent lecturer and presenter, Kret has served on numerous cultural and community boards and committees.

He earned a master’s degree in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate program, an academic division of the State University of New York at Oneonta, and a bachelor’s degree in history with a political science minor from the University of Detroit in Michigan.

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