Rebecca Massie Lane to retire June 30, 2020 as Director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
Mr. Lee E. Stine, Jr.
President of the Board of Trustees
November 15, 2019 – The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, MD (WCMFA), one of the four-states’ anchoring art institutions, announced today that its Director, Rebecca Massie Lane, has informed its Board of Trustees of her intent to retire on June 30, 2020. As the tenth director of the museum since its opening in 1931, Ms. Massie Lane will have led WCMFA for 12 years.
Mr. Lee E. Stine, Jr., President of the Board of Trustees, stated that Ms. Lane guided the museum through a chapter of extraordinary institutional advancement, and with her leadership, provided continuous creativity and inspiring service. Mr. Stine said that “Rebecca has led the WCMFA with great energy, strategic thinking, and good humor, guiding WCMFA through more than a decade of refocused mission, vision and core values, innovative exhibitions and programming, and enhanced and stabilized facilities. She has been highly effective in welcoming broad and diverse communities to the WCMFA, and encouraging participation and voluntarism. We congratulate her and wish her the best in her retirement; she will be missed by the board, WCMFA’s dedicated staff and volunteers.”
Ms. Massie Lane became Director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts August 1, 2008. As with many nonprofit institutions, WCMFA faced challenges during the Great Recession as Lane began her directorship. She worked effectively with the board and staff, Washington County Commissioners and Hagerstown City Mayor and Council, to stabilize the museum’s finances while keeping robust programming and high community engagement with the WCMFA. In spite of the challenging times, WCMFA successfully raised funds to enclose the open-air central courtyard of the museum. In 2011, the museum completed the Anne G. and Howard S. Kaylor Atrium, for which it exceeded its $2.5-million fundraising goal.
Since 2008, Ms. Lane has led the museum in completing three American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) “Museum Assessment Program” (MAP) grants. These assessments helped the WCMFA to focus on strategic planning, develop a collections philosophy and collections management policy, and to originate innovative exhibitions and programs. She led the WCMFA in developing new grants including support from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Henry Luce Foundation, Japan Foundation, Target Foundation, Maryland Humanities Council, Maryland Energy Administration, and the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation. In 2016, she successfully led the museum to achieve national reaccreditation from the AAM.
During her tenure, the museum has completed the refurbishment and reinterpretation of the Singer Memorial Gallery and the 19th and 20th Century American Art Galleries. Each project entailed curatorial advances for the museum’s interpretive program as well as aesthetic and facility improvements. Recent capital projects have totaled over $4.5 million. In addition to five gallery refurbishments, these funds supported two roof replacements, historic skylights repair, improving the North Entry Plaza, renovating the catering kitchen, and completely upgrading the HVAC System. The HVAC project was a $1.2 million endeavor for which the entire amount was pledged or contributed. All capital projects were fully funded. She raised endowments for the museum’s positions of Curator and Educator. In 2016, the Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Foundation endowed the curatorial position, and the Nora Roberts Foundation has provided half of the needed funds to endow the Museum Educator’s post.
In 2016-17, the Museum commemorated its 85th anniversary with a year of special exhibitions and programs. The Museum’s endowment campaign has raised over $3 million since 2013 and the endowment reached $14 million in 2019 (up from $5.4 million in 2008). In 2014 the museum completed a three-year art collection inventory funded by a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Other collections stewardship grants were received from the IMLS and National Endowment for the Humanities, and arts education and exhibition grants have been awarded from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ms. Lane serves on the Washington County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau board of directors as Secretary, the Hagerstown Arts and Entertainment District Board, the Hagerstown Cultural Trail Advisory Committee, and the Maryland Commission on Artistic Property. She has served as a grant reviewer and panelist for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Maryland State Arts Council; she has often served as a juror for regional art exhibitions. Recently she was named to the Maryland Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel.
Ms. Lane received her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and M.A. in Art History from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and from 1989-2008, was Director of Museums and Galleries, and Associate Professor and Program Director, Arts Management Program, at Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Virginia. At Sweet Briar, she worked with the Friends of Art to expand the collection to emphasize women artists. From 1981-1989, she was Director of the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee during a time of great expansion. Prior to her tenure there, she served in the curatorial and education departments at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia.
“My work with the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has been a highlight and the capstone of my career,” said Lane. “I am privileged to have worked in the field of art museums where I have engaged with a community of creative people who have enriched my life beyond measure. I have never had a boring day at work! My work with the WCMFA has been a delight and I am deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees, Board of Advisors, Singer Society, staff, volunteers, members, patrons, and many community champions, for their support. Together with such as the Washington County Commissioners, Hagerstown City Council, Washington County Delegation, Washington County Public Schools, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we have accomplished much and are proud of our communities. In 2020, as I pass the paintbrush to the next director, I have confidence that WCMFA will continue to be a vibrant, accessible museum, filled with the transformative power of art.”
Mr. Stine has appointed a search committee, and the trustees have engaged a national firm, Museum Search & Reference (https://museum-search.com/) to assist with the search for the next Director of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.