Director named for Stony Brook museum

Neil Watson is the new executive director of

Neil Watson is the new executive director of Long Island Museum. The Long Island Museum is dedicated to inspiring people of all ages with an understanding and enjoyment of American Art, History and Carriages as expressed through the heritage of Long Island and its diverse communities. (Credit: Bill Bleyer )

Neil Watson, former executive director of the Katonah Museum of Art in Westchester, has been named to the same position at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

The museum board of trustees earlier this month after a national search selected Watson to succeed Jackie Day, who led the museum since 2001 and retired in July.

"Neil quickly became our unanimous choice to lead the museum," board president James W. Wicks said. "Neil is a seasoned museum professional and cultural leader with a compelling vision for our future."


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Watson, who will head the museum focused on American art, history and horse-drawn carriages with Island ties, says he looks forward to bringing his family to Long Island, where they have relatives and have often visited. "It's like coming home," he said. "The Long Island Museum is a pivotal cultural leader in the region."

He said the newly renovated Carriage Museum provides "an opportunity to build on previous success and create new opportunities to engage the community and position the museum as a destination for families, scholars and individuals looking for inspiration and sheer fun."He was an advocate for educational outreach and collaboration, shepherding new award-winning initiatives such as Smart Girls, a leadership program designed for at-risk young women, and Thinking Through Art, a program designed for elementary schools focusing on visual literacy. These programs increased the museum's reach to 8,000 schoolchildren in five counties.

Watson served on the board of the Katonah Chamber of Commerce for eight years and also on the board of ArtsWestchester. He is an appointed museum panelist for the New York State Council for the Arts.

Before Katonah, Watson was executive director of the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, and held curatorial positions at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash., the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla., and the Tampa Museum of Art.

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