Susan J. Weller, executive director and curator at the J.F. Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, has been named director of the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History.
Pending approval of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, she will begin her duties Oct. 1.
Weller also will be appointed to the position of professor of entomology at UNL. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with honors from Grinnell College in 1982 and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Texas in 1989. Weller has served as faculty member and first female director of the Bell Museum since 2008. She has demonstrated commitment to advancing academic missions and science education programs.
“The University of Nebraska State Museum is truly a jewel and an engine of innovation in the museum field,” Weller said. “I feel very honored to have been selected as its next director.”
Weller will provide academic, professional and executive leadership as director of the NU State Museum. She succeeds Priscilla Grew, who has directed the museum since 2003.
“The State Museum is an icon for Nebraska and the university, and we have been fortunate to have Dr. Priscilla Grew as its dedicated and energetic director for the past 12 years,” Chancellor Harvey Perlman said. “The museum’s national stature has allowed us to attract Dr. Susan Weller from the University of Minnesota. She brings extraordinary talent and experience to this enterprise.”
Weller, who has spent more than three decades as a researcher, is vice president-elect of the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. She will be president of the association in 2017.
Grew oversaw private fundraising efforts that produced new gallery attractions and renovations in Morrill Hall and at branch museum locations. The state museum was reaccredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2009 and was designated as a Smithsonian Affiliate museum in 2014. Grew has also led the fundraising initiative for Morrill Hall’s fourth-floor redevelopment.
Established in 1871, the University of Nebraska State Museum is the state’s premier museum of natural history focused on promoting discovery in natural science, fostering scientific understanding and interpretation of the Earth’s past, present and future and enhancing stewardship of the natural and cultural heritage of Nebraska through world class exhibits, collections and special events.