In many New York art circles, Emily Rafferty was, as president, as much associated with the Metropolitan Museum as the director, even though she had nothing to do with the art and usually shied away from talking about it. Today, the Met announced that she’ll retire next spring — and what a loss that will be. Everybody I know inside the museum and outside the museum respected Rafferty; she was a role model for many women at the museum. Here’s what the announcement said:
Emily Kernan Rafferty, President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art since 2005, announced today her decision to retire in the spring of 2015, after more than 10 years in that position. Ms. Rafferty came to the Museum in 1976 as an administrator in the Development department, where she rose through the ranks, serving as Vice President for Development and Membership (the first woman to be appointed a Vice President in the Museum’s history), and later as Senior Vice President for External Affairs.
…Now that the Museum is ready to embark upon a series of new initiatives and a related long-term capital campaign, I believe it should have administrative leadership from someone who is prepared to assume those responsibilities for many years to come and carry them to fruition. I am honored to have helped lead and achieve a smooth transition from the Directorship of Philippe de Montebello to Tom Campbell six years ago, and under Tom’s leadership helped to effect significant positive changes within the Met. My respect and affection for the institution and for my colleagues is profound, and the Met will always be close to my heart.”