Jeff Andersen, director of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, has announced that he is resigning after more than forty years of service. Ted Hamilton, board of trustees president, said that a national search for his replacement is underway. Andersen will stay on until the next director is appointed.
“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to be a part of this museum,” Andersen said. “What I am perhaps most proud of is the deep sense of loyalty and camaraderie that is felt amongst our staff, trustees, volunteers, and members. In many ways, it echoes what Florence Griswold and the original Lyme artists had with one another. In this spirit, I know that everyone will give their full support to the next director to help the museum flourish in the years ahead.”
Andersen began his career at the museum after he earned his master’s degree in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in New York. During his tenure, the institution was transformed from a seasonal attraction with one staff member and fewer than 1,000 visitors per year to an accredited art museum with twenty staff members, 225 volunteers, and nearly 80,000 visitors annually. Andersen helped establish an endowment fund for the institution, which now funds one-third of its annual operating budget of $2.6 million.
He also led a decades-long campaign to expand the museum by purchasing the original Florence Griswold property, which had been sold in the 1930s. Reunifying the historic estate took seven different real estate transactions, the last of which took place in 2016. Andersen was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New England Museum Association that same year. “Throughout his career, Jeff has been an inspirational leader at the Florence Griswold Museum, on the NEMA board, and through all of his community service,” said NEMA executive director Dan Yaeger.