Lyle Cairdeas is the new director of Collections and Exhibits at Abbe Museum. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABBE MUSEUM

Abbe Museum names new director of collections and exhibits 

BAR HARBOR — The Abbe Museum has announced the selection of Lyle Cairdeas as its new director of collections and exhibits. 

“The director of Collections and Exhibits is a unique and important position,” says Chris Newell, the Abbe’s executive director and senior partner to Wabanaki Nations. “With the Abbe Museum’s commitment to our Decolonization Initiative, this position required expertise in collections, exhibits and research as well as a track record of work with Native communities that implements the power-sharing necessary for equitable relationships.  Lyle is ready and eager to continue this decolonization work, strengthening the Abbe’s bonds to the Wabanaki communities, creating equitable partnerships and looking ahead to training the next cohort of up-and-coming Wabanaki museum professionals.  He was a standout candidate for a position with very specific needs, and we look forward to welcoming him to our team.” 

Cairdeas joins the Abbe with master’s degrees in folklore and fine arts from the University of Oregon. While in Oregon, he worked for over seven years at both the Oregon Folklife Network (OFN) and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH) as a folklorist and exhibit developer. Most recently he taught art, art history and managed gallery internships at James Madison University. 

“I believe the arts, exhibits and public programming can have a beneficial impact on our society,” Cairdeas said of his new appointment. “I strive to serve as a bridge, connecting individuals with information, creativity and one another to foster healthy communities. I acknowledge the systemic issues inherent in the colonial roots of collecting institutions — issues centered around representation and authority. I am honored and humbled to join the talented staff at the Abbe Museum in dismantling the harmful legacies of colonization, enacting shared historical authority and lifting up the voices of the Wabanaki people represented in the Abbe’s collections.” 

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