Pearl Fincher closes for improvements, announces hiring of new museum director


The Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts has closed its doors amid aesthetic upgrades that will keep it closed for three weeks in preparation for a new director to take the helm.

The museum will be closed to the public from Sept. 7-27 for routine maintenance associated with its improvement project “Operation: Shine the Pearl,” Development and Marketing Director Laura Baker said. The improvements will lower the temperature and lighting at the venue, allowing the museum to showcase artwork that is sensitive to humidity and lighting, Baker said.

“The general quality of the artwork will be greatly expanded [by the renovations],” Baker said.

During the renovation process, the museum will receive upgrades to its air conditioning system, a paint job at it gift shop and preparations for the installation a new backup generator, Baker said. The Pearl Fincher Museum has already seen a restoration of the floors and restrooms.

“The general quality of the artwork will be greatly expanded [by the renovations].”

– Laura Baker, development and marketing director

Baker said museum officials will also use the time to train two new gallery attendants and a facilities manager after three gallery attendants were recently promoted to other positions. They will also hire a janitorial service.

“These are [projects]we just can’t do while the museum is open to the public,” Baker said.

The museum will also see a facelift among its administration. Museum officials have announced Julia Bussinger will take over as the museum director in January for former director Tim Novak, who left the position earlier this year.

Before accepting the position, Bussinger served as museum director for the city of El Paso, leading the El Paso Museum of History and El Paso Museum of Archaeology, Baker said.

“She has a lot of diverse experience, amazing energy and a great vision for where she wants the Pearl wants to go,” she said.

When the museum reopens in late September it will continue its current exhibitions—“Dual-Nature: Selections from the Chaney Family Collection” and “Time Travelers by Joan Son: Looking Back to Move Forward”—until the end of the year. The museum will premier “En Plein Air: The Watercolors of Noel Harry Leaver” in January, according to its website.

Museum officials have raised 15 percent of the $40,000 required to fund the museum renovations, Baker said. To donate to the art museum’s improvements of for more information, visit


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