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Robert Breunig Named Director of the Museum of Northern Arizona


The Museum of Northern Arizona announced today that Dr. Robert Breunig has been named the new director of the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Breunig has served as executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center since 1997. Previously, Breunig worked at the Museum of Northern Arizona from 1975­1982 as the museum's educator, curator, and head of the department of anthropology.

"One of the greatest treasures of my life has been to work with Lady Bird Johnson and the staff and board of the Wildflower Center, said Breunig. I will miss that interaction tremendously. At the same time I feel challenged to help an institution that has been an important part of my life. The Museum of Northern Arizona is a national treasure with a rich history, irreplaceable collections, and vitally important programs in science and education. It will be an honor to join with those who care deeply about the Museum to restore it to its rightful position among the great museums of our country." (right: Dr. Robert Breunig, the new director of the Museum of Northern Arizona. Photo courtesy of Museum of Northern Arizona)

Susan Garretson, Chair of the MNA Board of Trustees added, "Dr. Breunig was chosen by MNA's Board of Trustees from over 70 applicants for his depth of experience in managing museums, as well as his background with Native cultures and natural sciences. It is an added bonus that he has such familiarity with the institution and with the Colorado Plateau. The input we received after his local interview-from the staff, the board and civic leaders-was overwhelming. He will be received with open arms by an entire community."

After leaving MNA, Dr. Breunig became Chief Curator and Deputy Director at the Heard Museum from 1982­1985, Executive Director of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix from 1985­1994, and Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in California. He led the design and execution of new displays at each of these museums. He also serves on the board of the Arboretum at Flagstaff.

During his time at the Wildflower Center, Dr. Breunig was successful in expanding the Center's land holdings from 43 acres to its current 284 acres; implementing Landscape Restoration and Plant Conservation programs; expanding the Center's educational offerings; introducing several new gardens; opening a new restoration research trail system; and joining forces with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in a world-wide seed collection project called the Millennium Seed Bank Project. "Dr. Breunig brought to the Wildflower Center a tremendous sense of vision and professional direction. He has increased the scientific credibility of the institution, solidifying Mrs. Johnson's vision and the mission of the organization," said Melanie Barnes, president of the board of directors, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

"It saddened me deeply to learn of 'Dr. Bob's' departure from the Wildflower Center, but I understand a call of the heart, said Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson (Lady Bird Johnson). "He is a man of merit and vision, whose leadership and philosophies gained an important national and international reputation for the Center. He leaves a rich legacy-getting us additional land, overseeing our endowment growth, the improvement in the beauty of the gardens, and the restoration and conservation program. I know his greatest joy-and mine-would be for us to build on his legacy and fulfill the promise of the Center he envisioned."

Dr. Breunig expects to move to Flagstaff with his spouse, Karen Enyedy, before the beginning of next year.

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