John R. Brumgardt, long-time director of the Charleston Museum, has announced that he will retire late this year.
Brumgardt assumed his leadership role at the museum in 1984, started its exhibition program and oversaw improvements to its operations, facilities and property holdings. He led the organization’s recovery after the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Museum trustees selected Assistant Director Carl Borick to succeed him. Borick will take charge in mid-December, according to a museum news release.
“I am deeply grateful to the museum’s board of trustees, staff members, volunteer FANS organization, colleagues throughout Charleston’s cultural community and those who have provided the museum much-needed financial support for their friendship, assistance and support during my tenure as director,” Brumgardt said in a statement. “Working together, we have done good things.”
Brumgardt helped maintain the museum’s fiscal stability through periodic economic downturns after 1989. Representing the organization in professional associations, he guided it through three successful reaccreditation examinations by the American Alliance of Museums. He also was instrumental in working with other local cultural organizations to establish Charleston’s Museum Mile in 2008, an effort recognized by a Travel Council Golden Pineapple Award in 2010.
The Charleston Museum, founded in 1773, is the oldest museum in the U.S. Its holdings include an extensive collection of South Carolina artifacts, and it owns two National Historic Landmark houses, the Heyward-Washington House (1772) and the Joseph Manigault House (1803), as well as the Dill Sanctuary, a 580-acre wildlife preserve.
Borick, a certified public accountant, holds a master’s degree in history. He joined the museum in 1996 and became assistant director in 2001. His research is on the American Revolution in the South, and he has curated several exhibitions, including “Redcoats, Hessians, and Tories” (2003).
Borick is the author of two books on Charleston’s Revolutionary War history, including “A Gallant Defense” (University of South Carolina Press, 2003), which won the South Carolina Historical Society’s George C. Rogers Award in 2004.
“It is an incredible honor to be named director of America’s first museum,” Borick said in a statement. “This institution is a critical component of Charleston’s cultural landscape, and I look forward to working with the museum board, its staff and others in the community to ensure its continued vibrance and educational importance.”