The director of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film will retire next year on July 31, 2012. Dr. Anthony Bannon has held that position since 1996, previously serving as director of the Burchfield-Penney Arts Center, and director of Cultural Affairs on the campus of the State University of New York at Buffalo, both located in Buffalo, N.Y. His 15-year tenure makes him the longest-standing director in the history of the museum. An international search will begin in coming months, and Bannon will assist in the search process.
"I am totally invested in George Eastman House and its wonderful extended family, but I feel it is time," said Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director. "We have set into place a new and vigorous strategic direction, and it is time for new energy and vision to move that forward."
During Bannon's tenure the museum created three post-graduate preservation schools, alliances with museums and universities, an alliance of collectors clubs, and many of the most-attended exhibitions in the museum's 64-year history. The museum has also digitized its collections and has begun social-media campaigns to share its collections with the world.
Bannon led an effort to diversify the board of trustees, which now has more of a national focus with many members from outside the Rochester area. He also led creation of collectors clubs in large cities such as New York City and Los Angeles, and has initiated plans for satellite schools in photograph conservation in South Korea and Qatar. Under Bannon, the Eastman House auction last October at Sotheby's was the most successful fund-raising effort in the institution's history. This year's auction looks to be a repeat of that success.
Bannon plans to remain as George Eastman House Senior Scholar, a title appointed by the organization's board of trustees. He said he plans to continue working in the arts field as speaker, writer and consultant.