WILLIAMSBURG, Va., May 2, 2014 – Peter Armstrong, an internationally known leader in the museum profession, will join the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, a Virginia state agency that operates Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center history museums, on May 7 as senior director of museum operations and education. He fills the position held by the late Joseph A. Gutierrez, Jr.
Armstrong, who has more than 25 years of experience in museum work, comes to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation from the United Kingdom’s National Museum of Arms and Armour, also known as the Royal Armouries, where he was creative development and commercial director since 2004. The Royal Armouries encompasses three sites in the U.K. and an affiliate in the United States, the Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Ky. During his tenure, Armstrong developed and promoted several major exhibitions, including “Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill” at the Tower of London. He also served as project director for reinterpretation of the Tower of London’s White Tower and was project manager for capital improvements at Fort Nelson, a Victorian fort on England’s south coast, winner of a Royal Institute of British Architects conservation award in 2012.
The appointment of Armstrong as the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s senior director of museum operations and education is the culmination of a national search undertaken with an executive recruiting firm. He will oversee exhibits, the collection, historical interpretation, special public programs, curriculum-based educational programming and visitor services at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, which recorded paid visitation of 560,072 in 2013, with approximately 75 percent of individual visitors and 40 percent of group visitors coming from outside Virginia. He also will be responsible for Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation outreach education programs, with more than 80,000 participants annually.
Armstrong will have key roles in preparing to open the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, replacing the Yorktown Victory Center by late 2016, and in planning programming for the 400th-anniversary commemoration of landmark events that took place in 1619.
“Peter is a creative leader with the museum experience and talents to match the high standards of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation museums and our future goals,” said Executive Director Philip G. Emerson. “He brings the right combination of museum expertise, project management skills, operational know-how, and strategic thinking to develop innovative exhibits and programs to engage an ever-changing audience and to strengthen existing and new partnerships within and beyond Virginia’s Historic Triangle.”
“I am eager to join the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation museums and to bring my passion for history and education to these nationally important institutions,” Armstrong said. “I look forward to working with the experienced professional staff and boards and am particularly excited for the opportunity to open the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and to develop future exhibitions at Jamestown Settlement.”
Armstrong has been a keynote speaker at museum conferences in Norway, Austria and the U.K. and has lectured in Europe and the U.S. on the social and educational role of museums. Prior to joining the Royal Armouries, he held positions as chief executive officer of the Galleries of Justice Museum in Nottingham, general manager of London Dungeon and York Dungeon, and general manager of Sea Life Aquariums, with 12 sites in the U.K. He is a graduate of Manchester (England) Metropolitan University with a bachelor’s degree in performing arts.
“Our museum team, led by Jim Holloway, has done an outstanding job in guiding our public programs and moving forward elements of the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown during this interim period,” Emerson said. “We look forward to Jim’s continued leadership as we approach an array of significant educational projects on the horizon.”
Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, chronicle the early history and development of the United States and the convergence of American Indian, European and African cultures through gallery exhibits and historical interpretation in outdoor re-created settings – Powhatan Indian village, 1607 English ships and 1610-14 colonial fort at Jamestown Settlement, and Revolutionary War encampment and 1780s farm at the Yorktown Victory Center. Located in Virginia’s Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown “Historic Triangle,” the museums are open daily year-round. For more information, call (757) 253-4838 or toll-free (888) 593-4682, or visit hif.ciniva.net.