The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center’s board of directors met Tuesday, December 15, 2015 and named James L. Zimmer as Executive Director of the organization. Zimmer replaces Alan Robison, who took a position in Anniston, Alabama in October of this year. It is anticipated that the new top executive of Tennessee’s second largest general museum will be starting his role shortly after the first of the year, according to Board of Trustees Chairman Ray Runyon.
Hailing from Springfield, Illinois, Zimmer has 27 years of experience at AAM (American Alliance of Museums) accredited organizations. His current position is Director for Art and History at the Illinois State Museum System. Previously, Zimmer served as the Director of the Illinois State Museum-Lockport Gallery for 16 years. Prior to that he managed the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, where he led a $9.2 million capital campaign and construction of a new 45,500 square-foot facility.
Zimmer has been involved in all aspects of museum leadership and strategic planning. His M.A. in Community Arts Management from University of Illinois-Springfield and field experience has strongly influenced his philosophy of community-centered programming, life-long learning, and partnerships. Zimmer’s experience also includes development, fund-raising, financial management, exhibit curation, collections management, public relations, marketing, and facility management.
“The extent of Jim’s arts management background is exceptional, and we are thrilled that he will soon join us both at the Customs House and as a Clarksville resident,” said Runyon. “The Board is in complete agreement that he is the best choice to lead and grow the Museum. We are confident and excited about what the future holds.”
Zimmer also expressed his excitement about becoming part of the Clarksville community.
“I am deeply impressed by the Museum’s role as a vital community anchor that dynamically serves Clarksville residents,” he said. “It is an exceptional cultural and educational resource, a wellspring of community pride, a stellar attraction for visitors, and an important economic driver. The Museum is powered by a committed Board of Trustees, an innovative staff and a dedicated corps of volunteers who demonstrate professionalism and a genuine respect for the community. The Museum is one of the many precious jewels in the crown that is Clarksville, Tennessee. Becoming the next leader of the Museum is both an honor and privilege for me. I am eager to begin working with the Board, staff and members of the community. Together we will work to reveal the Museum’s full potential, expand its effectiveness, and spotlight its value to the community, county, state, and region. I am excited to become a part of this community and very pleased to call it my new home.”