After 18 years piloting the National Air and Space Museum, Jack Dailey is looking forward to a new assignment: Grandpa.
Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, will retire in January 2018. With 18 years as head of the museum, he is its longest-serving director. Dailey, a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and pilot, assumed the duties of director in January 2000. As head of the museum, Dailey has led efforts to expand its size and scope, maintaining its status among the most visited museums in the world.
“With his record of innovation, expansion, educational and public programming, digital outreach and distance learning, and exhibition development, Jack significantly advanced the museum’s mission to ‘commemorate, educate, and inspire’ people about the importance of flight to humanity,” said Secretary David Skorton.
Before becoming director, Dailey served 36 years in the Marine Corps, a career which began in 1956 as a Naval Aviator and ended in 1992 as a four-star general serving as Assistant Commandant. In the 1990s, he was Deputy Administrator of NASA.
Among his major accomplishments at the Air and Space Museum was the opening of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in 2003. Phase Two of the Udvar-Hazy Center, which includes collections and archival facilities, opened in 2010. Eight major exhibit installations took place during Jack’s tenure, as well as numerous small temporary, and traveling exhibitions and his vision is guiding the upcoming transformation of all the exhibitions in the Mall museum. Under Dailey’s oversight, the museum continued to conduct high-quality research in earth and planetary science, and the history of aviation and spaceflight. In 2009, a Public Observatory opened at the museum’s Washington location. And in 2012, he navigated the Space Shuttle “Discovery” into the National Collections.
One of Dailey’s major priorities has been expansion of the museum’s educational and public program efforts. Activities for students now include live broadcasts into classrooms, web-based activities, numerous age-specific, gallery-based programs, a “How Things Fly Gallery” at the flagship building, and an education lab at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Pre-kindergarten programming takes place at both locations and the museum offers several teacher training opportunities. A number of popular family day events are offered annually.
The Smithsonian has formed a committee to search for the museum’s next director. Under Secretary for Museums and Research/Provost John Davis will oversee the process.
Posted: 21 September 2017