Press Releases


Muskegon Museum of Art Executive Director Judith Hayner has announced plans to retire later this year, in the fall, after 14 years in the top leadership position at the MMA. The Museum Board and staff will host a public reception celebrating Director Hayner on Thursday, September 21, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.

The hiring process for the new director is underway.

Charles Johnson, III, Chairman of the MMAF Board expressed appreciation for Hayner’s leadership and service, saying, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Muskegon Museum of Art Foundation, I want to congratulate Judith Hayner on her remarkable 14-year tenure as the Museum’s Executive Director. Judith’s leadership, passion, and inspiration has elevated our museum to a distinguished place among the best art museums in the country.

Judith has been intimately involved with the Museum’s greatest success stories over the past decade including: the 100th anniversary celebration and corresponding acquisition of over 100 new works of art to the collection; the Inspire Campaign to raise our endowment that enabled the successful transition to an independent museum; and, most recently, the launching the largest art exhibition in our history, Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian.

Director Hayner has had an unbelievable impact on the Museum and our community and she will be greatly missed. The Museum’s debt to her is huge, and her impending retirement is, by any measure, richly deserved.”




Thank you for being a member of the Muskegon Museum of Art. You are truly the reason that we succeed.  You are friend, family, advocate, cheerleader, fan, and proponent for everything we do.  Your support of this institution and of us as its staff gives the MMA vibrancy, meaning, and relevance.

It is such an honor to help lead this museum, and I have enjoyed every single moment of this privilege. I am writing today to let you know that I am planning to retire later this year in the fall, once a new Director is brought on board, and I want you to hear about my plans directly from me.  As I considered this decision, I have been assisted by knowing how strong the museum is – in large part because of you. After 34 years in leadership positions in this great town, it seems like the right time to take some time for myself and my family.  If I could write a personal note to each of you, I would; however, there are now almost 1200 active memberships in this Museum.  How wonderful is that! Please know how profoundly grateful I am to you for your personal support and encouragement over these last 14 years. What a gift each of you have been to me.

I also am so deeply thankful for the privilege of working with the MMA Foundation Board and staff. We have an incredible group of leaders and art professionals. What a pleasure it has been to work side by side with them to forward the mission of this Museum.  You can be assured that your museum is in the best of hands, and that the Board and I are working together fully focused on the important planning for this transition while articulating the new opportunities that this change will create. The Board is beginning the search process this month. As a member of this institution, your continued support and energy will be a key to our ongoing success. Our Board needs you.  Our staff needs you. We are all counting on you to keep helping us shine!

This is such an exciting time, and we all have much to anticipate for the very bright future of this institution. Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian is a remarkable achievement of this staff, our Guest Curator, and our Board who helped us raise the funds to mount such an ambitious undertaking.  Please enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the entire collection of the individual photogravures that comprise The North American Indian. Please take the time to learn about Curtis, his work, and how it is viewed today by Native Americans and ourselves, and to enjoy the array of programs and events put on by our sister institutions throughout this summer.

Thank you, truly, for the opportunity to serve you and this museum. Enjoy this remarkable place you are sustaining; and, please, continue your support through your membership. It matters, more than you can imagine.


Judith Hayner, Executive Director