Health Management

Nancy Yao Withdraws as Director of Women’s History Museum


The Smithsonian’s selection for the founding director of its growing American Girls’s Historical past Museum has withdrawn from the position, the establishment stated Wednesday.

A Smithsonian spokeswoman, Linda St. Thomas, stated that the brand new director, Nancy Yao, had cited “household points that require her consideration” in deciding to withdraw. The announcement got here after the completion of an investigation into how Yao had dealt with sexual harassment claims in her earlier position because the chief of a New York museum.

Yao had led the Museum of Chinese language in America, a small cultural group in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood, for eight years.

The Smithsonian declined to elaborate on the findings of the skin agency employed to research the sexual harassment challenge. It didn’t element the household points that Yao cited in asserting her withdrawal.

A few month after the Smithsonian introduced her appointment, The Washington Post reported that underneath Yao, the Museum of Chinese language in America had settled three wrongful-termination lawsuits filed by staff who stated they have been fired in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment on behalf of younger feminine workers members on the group.

For months, Yao’s appointment has hung within the stability as an out of doors agency investigated claims in opposition to her, which included an assertion in one of many lawsuits that, as museum president, she had “tolerated and endorsed two male staff’ persistent sexual harassment” of a number of feminine staff on the group. Yao denied the allegation in court docket papers, asserting that the museum had correct insurance policies and procedures in place to answer office harassment. She denied to The Submit that the staffers had been let go in retaliation for his or her experiences, attributing the choices to price range pressures.

Yao didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Wednesday.

Whereas the Smithsonian searches for a alternative, the ladies’s historical past museum has appointed Melanie A. Adams, the director of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, as interim director. The ladies’s historical past museum’s 18 workers members have been knowledgeable of Yao’s determination on Wednesday, St. Thomas stated.

In main the event of a brand new museum, which doesn’t but have a constructing, Yao would have been overseeing an formidable endeavor — curating a set designed to symbolize the historic affect of American ladies. Establishing the museum, which is anticipated to open in roughly 10 years, was estimated to price about $375 million between development and the creation of reveals.

The museum’s creation is partly being funded by the federal authorities and partly by philanthropy, little doubt making Yao’s monitor file with nonprofit fund-raising enticing to the Smithsonian.

A former Goldman Sachs worker within the funding banking division, Yao went on to lead a nonprofit devoted to cultural alternate between the USA and China, earlier than taking up the Museum of Chinese language in America. She was main the group when a devastating hearth ripped via the constructing, endangering roughly 85,000 artifacts. The museum secured a $3 million grant that might assist protect the gathering, and in a while, it introduced plans for a brand new, considerably expanded headquarters designed by the architect Maya Lin and the museum designer Ralph Appelbaum. In its hiring announcement for Yao, the Smithsonian cited the group’s accomplishment in elevating greater than $60 million for the undertaking.

Throughout her tenure on the Chinatown museum, Yao turned an influential chief in New York Metropolis’s cultural sector, but in addition discovered herself the topic of fierce criticism within the surrounding group. In 2021, the museum was the site of protests by group members who objected to its determination to take $35 million from town as a part of a plan of group funding at a time when town was increasing a jail within the neighborhood. On the time, Yao stated that the protesters’ grievances had been misplaced onto the small museum.

The Smithsonian had introduced that Yao would step in because the museum’s director on June 5, however the beginning date had been delayed for weeks amid the investigation into Yao’s dealing with of the interior complaints in New York.

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