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DuSable Museum names Lee Bey VP

The New 411

By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader

The DuSable Museum of African American History has named its first-ever Vice President, Planning, Education and Museum Experience. Lee Bey, a native Chicagoan with more than two decades of experience in the fields of art, culture, architecture and urban planning, has officially joined the leadership team of the nation’s oldest independent African American museum. As Vice President, Planning, Education and Museum Experience, Bey will oversee the museum’s education department, collections staff and exhibitions, as well as several strategic initiatives and museum planning projects.

In announcing the appointment, Perri Irmer, President and CEO of the DuSable Museum stated, “We are very pleased and proud to welcome Lee Bey to our management team. He comes to the DuSable Museum during a truly exciting time in our history, with a museum expansion on the horizon, the recognition of our position as one of the major institutional partners driving economic development on the south side, and with so many great opportunities to utilize Lee’s broad based talent and experience. I am looking forward to accomplishing great things with Lee on our team!”

Lee Bey2
LEE BEY OF the DuSable Museum is focused on the television camera as he is interviewed following his appointment as the museum’s first ever Vice President, Planning, Education and Museum Experience.

“It’s an honor to join this historic institution, particularly now with its re-energized leadership, focus and mission,” Bey said. “The DuSable will accomplish great things in the years ahead. I’m glad to join the team that will make that happen.”

A graduate of Columbia College, Bey, a former Chicago Sun Times architecture critic, has served not only the community, but also the city of Chicago in a wide variety of roles. Bey was deputy chief of staff to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, a position in which he advised the mayor on architecture and urban planning while helping shape the administration’s position on development, lakefront protection, park construction and architectural preservation. He also helped oversee major redevelopment efforts such as the $600 million Soldier Field renovation.

After his tenure in the mayor’s office, Bey joined the Chicago office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill as Director of Governmental Affairs. In this role, he served as chief governmental expert and an in-house consultant on urban design issues.

Bey has also served as guest curator for several exhibitions, including a Chicago Film Archives program in 2014 titled From Mid-Century Chicago, with Love (and Commercial Breaks) – two short films with two commercials that, together, captured the architectural, political and social ups and downs of Chicago at mid-century.

His latest curatorial project is the photo exhibit, Chicago: a Southern Exposure, documenting the rich and largely overlooked architecture of Chicago’s South Side, which will be featured during the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, hosted by the DuSable Museum.

Bey is also a writer, lecturer, critic and architectural photographer. His photography of farm workers’ housing in Alamosa, CO and Chicago’s Archer Courts apartments was featured in the museum exhibit Wohnmodelle: Experiment und Alltag, which debuted in 2008 in Austria’s Kunstlerhaus. His Chicago architectural photography was the subject of a 2011 exhibit, Chicago: Then and Now—a Story by Lee Bey, at the historic City Gallery.

Bey is former executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee, a civic group composed of business and cultural leaders devoted to improving the architecture, transportation, cultural life and urban design of downtown Chicago. He was also associate director of external affairs and special projects for the University of Chicago Arts & Public Life Initiative.

In addition to his professional pursuits, Bey was a board member of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a socially conscious philanthropic organization, and he sat on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Blue Ribbon Committee for the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Bey was a member of the five-person Navy Pier “Pierscape” design advisory team. He is also an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


About The DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum of African American History is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the country. The mission is to promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions and experiences of African American history, culture and art. The DuSable Museum is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. For more information on the Museum and its programs, call 773-947-0600 or visit

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