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Met president steps down

Costume Institute Gala
Costume Institute Gala
Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Emily K. Rafferty, a pioneering woman who took up the difficult task of serving as president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has stepped down. She served for ten years in that top spot, seeing four decades of unprecedented growth and prosperity for the museum, added The New York Times today (July 29). To learn more about this big story in the museum business visit

Rafferty, according to The Times, announced on Tuesday that she was stepping down after 10 years in that role and nearly four decades at the institution, which she is credited with financially shepherding through a period of sustained growth. At 65, Rafferty will retire next spring, giving the Met time to form a search committee and find a replacement.

“I am convinced it’s the right time,” she said to The Times. “The Met is on the brink of a lot of changes, so that’s a good time for a breath of fresh air.”

Rafferty is credited with the "Met’s growth in areas like boosting its attendance to 6.2 million visitors a year, from 4.8 million in 2008," according to the report.

“This is all having to do with me and the Met, and the next steps will come when they come,” she said to the newspaper.

Thomas P. Campbell, the Met’s director and chief executive officer, said to The Times: “Emily has been my closest partner since I became director. We’ve worked together very closely and very successfully over the last five and a half years.”

She leaves as the museum prepares for another renovation, this time of its modern-art wing, adds today's Wall Street Journal (WSJ). For more on this business and arts story visit

"Now that the museum is ready to embark upon a series of new initiatives and a related long-term capital campaign, I believe it should have administrative leadership from someone who is prepared to assume those responsibilities for many years to come and carry them to fruition," Ms. Rafferty said in a statement, added WSJ.

"While she is retiring from the Met, Ms. Rafferty said, there is no Florida golf course in her immediate future. Precisely what comes next remains to be seen, however," added The Times. “You will see me out there,” she said. “I just don’t know quite where that will be.” One thing is for certain Staten Island arts fans we have not seen the last of Rafferty. Whatever she chooses to do, we cannot forget the important role Rafferty played in the museum as it saw its growth in The Costume Institute, and other new visual arts mediums that turned the museum, once considered an artistic dinosaur into an important society and pop culture force in the new millenium. The museum changed, becoming more accessible to a new generation of the fashion and art elite. We can only sit back and reflect on Ms. Rafferty's influence in a world dominated by men. Thanks Ms. Rafferty for a job well done!