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Statement from the IMLS Acting Director on the Loss of Peter C. Marzio

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


IMLS Press Contacts
Natasha Marstiller,
Mamie Bittner,

Washington, DC—We at IMLS mourn the passing of Dr. Peter C. Marzio, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on Thursday, December 9, at the age of 67.

I first met Peter in 1979 when I was a fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts, and he was the director at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. I interviewed him about trends in special exhibitions, and, to this young and "green" museum professional, he was gracious, accessible, and thoughtful.    In 1982, Peter became the director of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, where he presided over unprecedented growth in collections, physical plant, endowment, and community impact.  His leadership was transformative, and we at IMLS were pleased to support an initiative to expand family learning opportunities at the museum as well some pioneering conservation projects.

On the national level, he continued to exert his leadership within the Association of Art Museum Directors, the federal Arts and Artifacts Indemnity program, the Wallace Foundation and other organizations.

Peter was a wise and gracious human being who was committed to the museum as a place of learning for all.  He was dedicated to quality, community service, and education, and he will be sorely missed.

— Marsha L. Semmel
Acting Director, IMLS

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit