Connecticut River Museum

CTRM pic.jpg

Connecticut River Museum

Essex, CT


Gainor Davis appointed Executive Director

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Gainor Davis as Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum. Chosen after a nationwide search, Davis will assume the duties of Executive Director on July 10, 2019. Scott Stevens, Senior Search Consultant at Museum Search & Reference ran the nationwide search.  

Davis currently serves as the Executive Director of the Historical Society of Carroll County in Westminster, MD, a museum which she has led since January 2015. She is an experienced museum executive, having previously led several important institutions, including serving as the President/CEO of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio for six years; as President/CEO of the York (PA) County Heritage Trust; as Director of the Vermont Historical Society in Montpelier and Barre, VT; and as Executive Director of Longue Vue House & Gardens in New Orleans, LA. 

Davis has established a reputation of achieving financial stability for her institutions, along with overseeing up-to-date, audience-oriented, relevant programming that has attracted new audiences. Her accomplishments include overseeing the creation of three new hands-on spaces at three different museums--apt experience to create and open the Connecticut River Museum's planned new River Discovery Center. 

Davis brings a strong background in fundraising and marketing. She has led two successful multi-million-dollar capital campaigns. Prior to her museum-director positions, her fundraising career included posts at Temple University in Philadelphia as Director of Development & Alumni Affairs for the College of Arts and Sciences; at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as Associate Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations; at the Strong Museum in Rochester, N.Y., as Deputy Director for Public Affairs, and at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as Director of Development and then as Associate Director of Administration. 

Davis holds a Ph.D. in American History from Temple University in Philadelphia, an M.A. in American History and Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE, and an A.B. in History from Smith College. 

She stated, "I am very excited about the role that the museum can play in serving both the Essex-area community and the larger Connecticut River region north of the museum, extending into Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. I look forward to partnering with local and regional organizations to serve new communities. I am delighted to move back to New England and to the Essex region, where I have many ties, and to become part of the community." Davis added, "It is an honor to be invited to join the capable staff at the CRM and to work with such a committed Board." 

Peter Coombs, who chaired the Search Committee as well as chairing the museum's board, said, "Gainor Davis was selected after a rigorous national search, with a unanimous decision of the Search Committee and the unanimous approval of the Board. We were impressed with Gainor's accomplishments over a distinguished career as a history-museum director and advancement professional." 

Davis will take the reins from Interim Director Tom Wilcox, who is leading the museum through the transition period. Previous director Christopher Dobbs announced last August that he had accepted an offer to lead the larger Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, MT, triggering the search. 

The Search Committee was chaired by Board Chair Peter Coombs and co-chaired by Alison Brinkman. It included board and community members Tom Klin, Joanne Masin, Brenda Milkofsky and Tom Wilcox.  

Many people helped with this search as nominators, references or candidates, and Scott and Marilyn are grateful to each of them.