Marshall Fredericks Museum director set to retire

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After 12 years at the helm, Marilyn Wheaton, the director of Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum (MFSM), will officially retire in December.

Wheaton enjoyed working in the museum, learning about Marshall Fredericks’ life and developing projects to attract new patrons.

“I am most proud of getting the Museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums,” Wheaton said. “While I was here, we also created the Jo Anne and Donald Petersen Sculpture Garden, built an exterior entrance to the Museum and developed a schedule of four or five temporary exhibitions at the Museum annually.”

During her tenure, Wheaton increased the staff from two full-time to five full-time employees and the attendance of the museum by 40 percent. She also expanded the number of educational and outreach programs the museum offers.
Wheaton said she will miss the many friends she has made through working at the museum.

Laurie Allison, the senior secretary at MFSM, is one of many colleagues who will miss Wheaton.

“Her people skills, integrity and tenacity to see that every aspect of everything done at this museum be held to the highest achievable standard will hard to replace,” Allison said. “Over the last 12 years, she has earned the respect of many people, and she will be missed.”

Melissa Ford, the archivist at MFSM, commented on Wheaton’s contributions to the museum and agreed that she will be missed.

“Marilyn is an incredible leader and mentor,” Ford said. “Her enthusiasm for the museum is contagious. She is never afraid of a challenge, and she continually sought ways to improve the museum and make it grow during her tenure here.”

Geoffery Haney, the collection manager at MFSM, said Wheaton’s leadership helped bring the museum to the next level.
“She accomplished many things over the years: bringing this museum into the national spotlight and helping us grow into more than a local museum,” Haney said. “I believe we are more well-known under her direction on the national stage than prior to her becoming director.”

While Wheaton will miss working at MFSM, she will continue working with the community after she has retired.

“When I came to the Museum 12 years ago, my husband and I retained our home in Detroit,” Wheaton said. “When I leave the Museum at the end of this year, I will be back in Detroit full-time, engaged in the community in meaningful ways.”