Lightner Museum Announces New Executive Director

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Museum Elevates and Expands Programming


We are beyond enthusiastic about David’s addition to the team, which was backed unanimously by the Board,” said Board Chair Teresa Radzinski. "He is the right person at the right time to take us to the next level.

The Lightner Museum is thrilled to announce that David Bagnall will join the museum as the new Executive Director on September 8, 2020. The Board retained Sterling Search & Consulting, a Jacksonville-based firm specializing in nonprofits, to conduct this successful national search. The effort was led by Managing Partner Betsy Jacobs.

Bagnall offers substantial leadership experience at premier institutions, most recently as Director of Preservation and Interpretation for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust in Chicago. His fresh perspective will help the museum expand its current efforts to engage the public in new and innovative ways. He also has an extensive background in formal grant writing and success in developing cultural and philanthropic partnerships.

Previously, Bagnall served as Executive Director of the Driehaus Museum in Chicago, located in the restored Nickerson Mansion. There, he was instrumental in the restoration of this vibrant masterpiece of the Gilded Age, and developed a cohesive master plan to shape the museum’s future, defining its mission and brand identity while preparing the permanent collection for exhibition. He also handled the Public Art Collection of the City for Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

Bagnall holds a Master of Arts degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.

“We are beyond enthusiastic about David’s addition to the team, which was backed unanimously by the Board,” said Board Chair Teresa Radzinski. “His comprehensive curatorial, architectural, operating and fundraising experience will help us continue to present the Lightner’s collection in a way that re-engages our community with programs that will highlight its broad appeal. He is the right person at the right time to take us to the next level.”

Bagnall’s role will include a focus on grant funding for larger programming opportunities and an emphasis on public engagement in the age of COVID, creating a variety of experiences, both virtually and in-person. With 80,000 square feet available for comfortable social distancing, the museum offers a safe, indoor space to take in the beauty of St. Augustine’s historic art scene. The museum’s programming boasts many new additions this fall, namely:

  • Illuminate: Lightner Museum's Stained-Glass Rediscovered features thirteen pieces of the Lightner's newly restored stained-glass collection, including works from Tiffany. The exhibit will open to the public on September 10. The museum worked with RLA Conservation on the restoration with custom light boxes built by Building 4 Fabrication.
  • The Music Room Mural Competition announced Joshua Cooper, a realist painter living in Jacksonville as the artist who will create the new mural for the back wall of the newly restored music room on the first floor of the museum. The news followed an open call to invite artists to submit a mural concept and design that reflected the history of the museum, the Gilded Age, or the history of music. A mural unveiling event will take place in the fall.
  • Virtual Gilded Age opening in early Fall 2020 will allow guests the opportunity to design their own Gilded Age mansion using some of the most popular pieces of the Lightner Museum's collection in a new, immersive, digital gallery created by Integrated Visions.

“The Lightner Museum is an architectural masterpiece with a compelling story to tell, and I am thrilled to be joining the organization,” said Bagnall. “I look forward to building connections in the historic community of St. Augustine, and to creating programming that inspires locals and visitors alike.” Bagnall will be joined by his wife and daughter as he takes the reigns in his new role.

About the Lightner Museum: For the past 25 years, Lightner Museum has taken on multiple projects and highly acclaimed exhibits such as the Downton Abbey exhibition, Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times and Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist. Located in the former Alcazar Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida and home to one of the finest collections of 19th century art in the country, the three floors of the museum are unique and represent different genres of artwork. The museum offers a speaker series, curator tours, learning labs, and after-hours events. The Lightner is open seven days a week, 363 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 75 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida 32084. For General Museum & Donations, email or call 904-824-2874.

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