Reinventing a Museum: Celebrating Collections and Rethinking Engagement

  • Gretchen G Dietrich Executive Director, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah


Closed for nineteen months, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts paused to replace the building’s vapor barrier to preserve the building’s structural integrity and to better maintain environmental controls for the collections. Additionally, HVAC systems were updated, building monitoring systems were improved, and heat trace was added to the windows to mitigate condensation. Consulting first with Michael Henry and Wendy Jessup to inform the University’s process around the specific needs of the collections, the University ultimately contracted with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger to design the project. While closed, the Museum staff worked diligently to ensure the protection of the collections and set about to reinstall and rethink just about everything. The UMFA reopened in August 2017 with new installations and an improved visitor experience, but also with an increased ability to maintain industry-standard environmental controls without further damage to the Museum’s beautiful building. 
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Author Biography

Gretchen G Dietrich, Executive Director, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah
Gretchen Dietrich is Executive Director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. Before becoming Executive Director, Dietrich served as Director of Public Programs and Curatorial Affairs and Interim Director at the UMFA. She served for four years as Executive Director of the Utah Museums Association, a non-profit, professional membership organization serving Utah’s museum community. Previously, Dietrich was Director of Education at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT. She has also held positions in museum education, public programming, and exhibition planning at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Dietrich holds an MA in art history from Temple University and an undergraduate degree in art history from Chestnut Hill College. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Art Museum Directors and oversees the AAMD’s Education and Community Issues Committee. Dietrich serves as Chair of the Zoo Arts and Parks Tier I Operating Committee, is a recent member of the Governor-appointed Board of the Utah State Office of Museum Services, and past Chair of the Utah Nonprofits Association Board. From 2017-2019 she will serve as President of Board of Directors of the McGillis School, and independent K-8 school in Salt Lake City. In 2014, Dietrich participated in the Getty Leadership Institute’s Executive Education Program at Claremont Graduate University, and was a member of the 2015 class of the National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program.
How to Cite
DIETRICH, Gretchen G. Reinventing a Museum: Celebrating Collections and Rethinking Engagement. Selected Proceedings of Advances in Conservation, [S.l.], nov. 2017. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 18 may 2024.