Mesa has hired Simon Tipene Adlam as the new Arizona Museum of Natural History director. He starts Aug. 15.
A seasoned museum administrator, Adlam worked at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County for almost 10 years in different capacities, including creative director and director of exhibitions.
“We are thrilled to have selected a candidate with demonstrated international museum management experience and cultural leadership. Simon is a visionary leader committed to fostering an inclusive museum experience,” City Manager Chris Brady said in a release. “AZMNH is a significant cultural and education asset to Mesa. We are confident it will shine under Simon’s leadership.”
Adlam brings almost three decades of museum experience to Mesa. He has recently led Haimona, an indigenous think tank and incubator he created in his native Aotearoa New Zealand to bring social impact programming to cultural institutions. Of Maori descent, Adlam’s interest and expertise align with AZMNH’s mission of exploring and showcasing the natural and cultural heritage of Arizona and the southwestern U.S.
“I’m excited to be working with such a talented staff who are passionate about the mission of this museum. I look forward to discovering the great collections, advanced research and impactful programs developed for the community,” Adlam said in the release. “I’m inspired by the city of Mesa’s firm commitment to its cultural assets. Their diverse relationships within the community speak volumes as a cultural hub. I take tremendous pride in joining this team.”
Adlam’s international career expands to three continents — having served museums and cultural institutions in the U.S., the Middle East and Aotearoa New Zealand.
He has brokered multiple museum cultural exchanges and negotiated collaborations among internationally renowned institutions such as Museé National Picasso, Arabe du Monde Institute, Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank, the release states.
“Mesa is honored to welcome a world-class museum administrator. We can’t wait to see the evolution of our beloved AZMNH under his tenure,” Mesa Director of Arts and Culture Cindy Ornstein said in the release.
Throughout his career, Adlam has garnered numerous excellence awards from the American Association of Museum Excellence, Themed Entertainment Association and the International Art Critics Association, to name a few.
Arts Consulting Group, a cultural consulting and executive search business, conducted the search for director.