Julie Decker selected as new CEO of Anchorage Museum

Julie Decker selected as new CEO of Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Anchorage Museum Association (AMA) Board of Directors has named Julie Decker as director of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.

Decker, former Anchorage Museum chief curator, replaces James Pepper Henry, who took a director position at Phoenix’s Heard Museum in August. Decker served as interim director following Pepper Henry’s departure.

Decker was selected to head the museum after an international search conducted by m/Oppenheim Associates of San Francisco. She will serve as both chief executive officer of the nonprofit AMA and director of the city-owned museum.

“We are very pleased Julie Decker is stepping into this role, and we believe she has the experience, leadership ability and commitment to the community to guide the museum into an exciting future,” said AMA Board Chair Susan Knowles. 

“Julie’s international connections and extensive curatorial background combined with her long history initiating innovative Anchorage Museum programs and exhibitions made her the standout choice. She will lead the museum beyond its recent expansion to position it as a key cultural institution in the Circumpolar North and a leader for discussions of the North throughout the world.”

Before joining the museum as chief curator in 2011, Decker curated numerous major exhibitions at the Anchorage Museum, including “Andy Warhol: Manufactured,” “Quonset: Metal Living for a Modern Age,” “John Hoover: Art and Life” and an annual series of exhibitions in the museum’s former children’s gallery.

She has authored numerous exhibition catalogues and publications, including “Gyre: The Plastic Ocean,” “Alaska and the Airplane,” “From Canvas to Steel: The Architecture of Ed Crittenden and Alaska,” and “Found and Assembled in Alaska.”

She was a member of the committee that oversaw the museum expansion and after joining the museum staff, curated the major exhibitions “Arctic Flight: A Century of Alaska Aviation,” “True North: Contemporary Art of the Circumpolar North,” and “This is Not A Silent Movie: Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists,” which debuted at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles.

Decker envisioned the museum’s Northern Initiative, which combines exhibitions, scholarship, public programming and community outreach to explore the current and future state of the North through culture, community and the environment.

She previously owned and ran Decker/Morris Gallery in Anchorage and was an instructor for the University of Alaska. She has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in contemporary art history, criticism and management from Union Institute and University and a master’s degree in arts administration from Golden Gate University. Her work as an artist has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions throughout Alaska and is in the Anchorage Museum collection.

Decker will be formally welcomed into her new role as CEO at a community reception in December.


Anchorage Museum press release