Don Bacigalupi heads from Crystal Bridges to Chicagos Museum Campus.
  • Courtesy Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
  • Don Bacigalupi heads from Crystal Bridges to Chicago’s Museum Campus.

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art announced today that Don Bacigalupi will be the organization’s founding president. He’ll be leaving his current job as president of Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, to join the Lucas Museum on January 15.

Bacigalupi was hired by Crystal Bridges as executive director in 2009, two years ahead of its opening, and became president in 2011. Before that, he was president of the Toledo Museum of Art. He oversaw major construction and start-up projects at both institutions. He has a PhD in art history from the University of Texas at Austin.

Here’s the full Lucas Museum announcement:

CHICAGO (November 17) — The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art announced today that its Board of Directors has named Don Bacigalupi as the Museum’s Founding President, effective Jan. 15. Bacigalupi joins the Lucas Museum with more than 20 years of experience in collection and exhibition development, museum management, and educational programming. Initially, Bacigalupi will focus on the planning, organization and construction of the Museum.

“Don shares my vision for building an education-focused, world-class museum that expands public understanding and appreciation of narrative art,” said George Lucas, Founder and Chairman of the Lucas Museum. “Don’s decades of experience include a proven track record for building a museum from inception, and he recognizes that community partnerships and multidimensional programming are critical to ensuring a museum’s long-term impact.”

Most recently, Bacigalupi served as the President of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. He joined the museum as Executive Director in 2009 and was instrumental in developing all aspects of the museum prior to its opening in 2011— from building its staff and collection to facilities and programming. Bacigalupi will remain a member on the Crystal Bridges Board of Directors.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the Lucas Museum as its Founding President, and I look forward to working with George and the Board to bring to life an inspiring museum that will expand our awareness and appreciation of the central role of narrative art in our culture,” said Bacigalupi. “My hope is that the Lucas Museum will educate and engage millions of visitors of all ages and backgrounds to explore new creative frontiers. I’m eager to collaborate with Chicago’s many outstanding cultural institutions as we work to create an unprecedented experience for residents and visitors alike.”

Prior to joining Crystal Bridges, Bacigalupi served as President, Director and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art, where he oversaw the construction and development of its world-renowned Glass Pavilion. He previously served as the Executive Director of the San Diego Museum of Art.

Bacigalupi earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in art history from the University of Texas at Austin, and he received a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Houston, where he was valedictorian of his class. Bacigalupi has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Association of Art Museum Directors and the National Committee of the International Council of Museums. A seasoned lecturer both domestically and abroad, he has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards and was a 1996 fellow at the Getty Trust.