Cleveland Museum of Art Director David Franklin Resigns


After three years on the job, David Franklin, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), announced his resignation yesterday, effective immediately. Franklin has cited personal reasons, and he will work with the museum as a consultant during the search for a replacement. Trustee Fred Bidwell has been appointed interim director.

“I have concluded that it’s time to spend more time on research and writing,” Franklin said in a statement.

Franklin oversaw several stages of a $350-million expansion and renovation that has been in the works for eight years. The museum’s capital campaign still aims to raise $97 million for the expansion, which is slated to be completed by the end of 2013, according to a museum spokesperson.

Franklin was previously the deputy director and chief curator at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) in Ottawa. He worked there for 12 years in various roles, ultimately as deputy director and chief curator. He was fired in 2008, according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, over deleting e-mails about a curator’s dismissal, but sued and was rehired.

This is the fourth time since 2000 that the CMA has experienced director turnover. Katharine Lee Reid held the position from 2000-05, and retired to spend time with family. (Her father was Sherman Lee, who was the Cleveland Museum’s director from 1958 to ’83, and who died in 2008.) Timothy Rub succeeded her and served from 2006 to ’09, then left to become director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Deborah Gribbon served as interim director from 2009 to ’10.