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An MFA career with many highlights

Malcolm Rogers was named director of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1994.file

1994: Malcolm Rogers, the British-born deputy director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, is named director of the Museum of Fine Arts.

1995: Museum’s historic Huntington Avenue entrance reopens, a move that’s viewed as a symbolic welcoming of the wider community. Previous director Alan Shestack had closed the doors to save money.

1996: MFA hosts first museum show for Herb Ritts, known for photographing celebrities and semi-clad models. The show draws just over 250,000 visitors — and criticism from those who question whether it has artistic merit.

April 1999: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the MFA’s sister museum, opens in Japan. Under deal, the MFA is to receive $50 million through the first 20 years of operation.


June 1999: Rogers informs Anne Poulet, curator of European decorative arts and sculpture, and Jonathan Fairbanks, curator of American decorative arts and sculpture, that their positions are being eliminated as part of a staff reorganization. Detractors dub this “The Boston Massacre.”

2001: Rogers announces plans to raise $425 million for a new wing devoted to American Art. By the time the campaign wraps up in 2008, that number has grown to $504 million.

2005: Show featuring the collection of Bill Koch includes the placing of two of the billionaire’s racing yachts. Rogers brushes off the criticism: “You have to show me why a museum that displays teapots cannot display boats, particularly if they’re beautiful.”

2006 : After years of denying its collection included any looted art, MFA agrees to return works to the Italian government. In exchange, Italy promises to loan the MFA objects from the country’s vast antiquities holdings. Rogers calls the arrangement a partnership marking an “exciting new era of collaboration.”

2007 : Neighboring Forsyth Institute building (140 The Fenway) purchased, which will allow the museum to expand its campus in the future.


2008: The MFA’s Fenway entrance, closed since the 1970s, reopens after being remodeled. “I don’t look at this as a door, I look at it as a bridge to the city,” says Ronald E. Logue, chief executive officer of State Street Bank, which gives the MFA $10 million for the project.

2010: The Art of the Americas Wing opens, adding 53 new galleries and turning the once-open Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard into a covered meeting space with a café. The renovated West Wing — named the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art — will open the following September.

2014 : Rogers announces to the MFA’s board of trustees his plans to retire. Board agreed to create a search committee. With Rogers committing to serve until a replacement is found, he’s likely to become the MFA’s longest serving director in May.

Geoff Edgers can be reached at gedgers@globe.com.