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Los Angeles museum head appointed to Smithsonian director



Statue of Gene Autry from the courtyard of the Autry Museum in Griffith Park.
Statue of Gene Autry from the courtyard of the Autry Museum in Griffith Park.
Photo by David Hoshor via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles museum head John Gray has been appointed to run Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

Gray, the founding president of the Autry National Center of the American West, was named as new director of the celebrated museum on Tuesday by the Smithsonian. 

Before joining the museum circuit, Gray spent 25-years in commercial banking and served in the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Gray became CEO of the Autry Museum in 1999 and is credited with transforming the center of the singing cowboy into a major cultural hub, merging it with the Women of the West Museum in Denver and Los Angeles' Southwest Museum of the American Indian.

Smithsonian officials were reportedly drawn to Gray's ability to tell a fuller, more inclusive story of American history. He will oversee 234 employees at his new post with an annual budget of more than $34 million. Approximately 5 million visitors are expected to visit the museum this year.

 

Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner