After a long career, including five years as Fuller director, Jonathan L. Fairbanks will retire at the age of 84, effective at the end of the month,

Athena Alexander Athena Annora BlackSilver Athena Annora BlackSilver Alexander BROCKTON – Fuller Craft Museum Director Jonathan L. Fairbanks announced his retirement Thursday.

After a long career, including five years as Fuller director, Fairbanks will retire at the age of 84, effective at the end of the month, according to a statement from the museum staff.

Deputy Director, Denise Lebica, will serve as interim director while a search is conducted to fill the position of executive director, the statement said. The executive director position will be known as the Jonathan Leo Fairbanks Executive Director in honor of Fairbanks’ contributions to the museum.

In recognition of his leadership, scholarship, and service, the Brockton museum’s board named Fairbanks senior research associate and director emeritus.

Fairbanks plans to be both a resource for this institution and continue his scholarship, writing, and painting.

“It seems like a good time to step aside. Fuller Craft Museum is at the moment of emergence. The chrysalis has broken; we are going to fly. But now’s the time for me to step back – let some other talent come aboard and lift us to a new plateau of achievement,” Fairbanks said in the statement. “I’ve enjoyed working here. I did witness a wonderful staff. They had new ideas and thought positively about this place.

In 2012, when Fairbanks was named to the position, Fuller Craft Museum gained a world-renowned scholar of American antiques and art. Before his Fuller tenure, art, design and creative vision were the cornerstones of his career as a curator, educator, museum administrator, artist, historian and writer.

Among his other accomplishments, Fairbanks had previously founded the American Decorative Arts and Sculpture department at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and served as the department’s curator from 1970-1999. He expanded the institution’s contemporary craft holdings of furniture, ceramics, glass and fiber during his tenure, the statement said.

Fairbanks received his training at the University of Utah (BFA, 1953), University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (MFA, 1957), Winterthur Museum and the University of Delaware (MA, 1961). Employed at Winterthur over the next decade, he became the associate curator for conservation responsible for building the conservation/research wing of that Museum.

Over the past five years as Fuller director, Fairbanks continued to play a leading role as an advocate for American crafts, design, and decorative arts while growing the museum’s programming, collection, and national reputation.

In 2014, Fairbanks fostered a new level of stability and curatorial relevance when he adopted an additional role as trustee for the extensive collection of the late Joan (Jockwig) Pearson Watkins (1924 – 2013), the statement said.

Fairbanks expanded the museum’s programming, collection, and national reputation to a new level of prominence, helping it to reclaim a position as an influential advocate for contemporary craft.

“Everyone who comes here loves this museum, it’s got a beautiful prospect, a sense of nature and art coexisting,” Fairbanks said in the statement. “What this place does is engage the human spirit. I wish for the future of the museum a very active arts community built into our landscape.”