New director named for Anchorage Museum 7-07

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - After a nine-month national search, James Pepper Henry has been chosen as the new director of the Anchorage Museum.

Pepper Henry, currently an associate director at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, will replace longtime director Pat Wolf.

Wolf will retire Oct. 21 after 33 years with the museum. Last year the board asked Wolf to reapply for her job; she declined. Pepper Henry is scheduled to start Oct. 22.

Pepper Henry, the unanimous choice of the Anchorage Museum Association board of directors, will serve as both chief executive officer of the nonprofit association and director of the city-owned museum.

"I don't want to see it as just being the museum for Alaska," he said. "I want to see it be one of the major museums in the circumpolar north, and the world, for that matter."

The museum's budget for 2007 is $7.6 million and it has a full-time staff of 35. Pepper Henry also will oversee the museum's $100 million expansion, to be completed in 2010.

Pepper Henry lived in Fairbanks when he served as the visual arts coordinator of the Institute of Alaska Native Arts from 1990 to 1992.

There's family ties to Alaska, also. He said his uncle, Jim Pepper, was a well-known jazz musician in Juneau.

Pepper Henry is currently associate director for Community and Constituent Services, responsible for all outreach programs for Native constituents throughout the Western Hemisphere, including traveling exhibitions, culturally sensitive collections management and repatriation activities.

He was raised in Oregon and Oklahoma and is a Muscogee Creek Indian.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News,