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AMPAS Museum Curator Departs 18 Months Ahead of Opening

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is losing the curator of its museum collection, 18 months ahead of the museum’s scheduled opening date.

Ellen Harrington worked at the Academy for 24 years. In an internal announcement obtained by Variety, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson congratulated Harrington on being named the director of the Deutsches Filminstitut and Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany.

According to her resume, posted on LinkedIn, Harrington was appointed the inaugural curator of the museum’s collection of movie artifacts in 2015. She was charged with “setting the course and vision for the development of the collection.”

The $388 million museum has been troubled by cost overruns and lackluster fundraising. Originally slated to be complete in December 2017, it is now set to open in April 2019. Within the Academy membership, there has been long-running debate about the exhibitions, and how much emphasis to place on technical developments in moviemaking versus the more glamorous side of the business.

Harrington has overseen the Academy’s vast collection of movie memorabilia and artifacts, managed relationships with outside stakeholders, and worked to develop numerous public exhibitions over many years.

In 2014, the Academy hired Kerry Brougher to serve as the museum director, overseeing the entire institution. The Academy is expected to make several announcements about the museum’s progress over the next couple of weeks.

“We’re grateful to Ellen for her many years at the Academy, and are excited for her new opportunity,” the Academy said in a statement. “In the coming days the Academy Museum will unveil details about our content and curatorial team, which bring together a wealth of global experience and expertise.”

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