Volume 16 • Issue 43 | March 26 - April 1, 2004

Neill to step down at Seaport Museum

Downtown Express file photo by Ramin Talaie

Peter Neill outside the South Street Seaport’s new gallery last October, before it opened.

Peter Neill has resigned as the president of the South Street Seaport Museum, but he will remain at the helm of special projects until next year.

On June 30, Neill will become president emeritus. He will oversee the World Ocean Observatory, media and publication projects, and the Seaport’s education initiatives. The museum is beginning to search for Neill’s successor.

Plans for the ocean observatory stalled after Sept. 11, 2001, and Neill said he is looking forward to reviving the efforts to build a public information center on an empty lot next to the recently expanded Seaport museum.

“There’s a tremendous public disconnect about the ocean—it’s always seen as a place apart,” Neill said.

Neill, 62, has worked at the Seaport Museum for 19 years. He said he would probably leave in June, 2005, if the observatory has been built.

“Twenty years is long enough in any institution,” Neill said.

Neill named a five-fold increase in the museum’s net asset value among the major accomplishments of his tenure. Another, he said, was helping to create three new public schools in partnership with the Seaport. One of these New Visions schools, the Harbor School in Bushwick, Brooklyn, opened last year, and a fourth has just been named for an undecided location, Neill said.

Neill had reassuring words for those who will miss his stewardship as the museum’s head: “I’m not leaving town. I’ll be in the same office.”


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