Former BMA director is losing his position at the Smithsonian

October 03, 1995|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC

Tom L. Freudenheim, former director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, is one of three top administrators at Washington's Smithsonian Institution whose jobs are being eliminated in a management restructuring.

Mr. Freudenheim, assistant provost for the arts and humanities, said yesterday he doesn't know exactly when he will be leaving his position, but "it's imminent." He is responsible for oversight of most of the Smithsonian's 16 museums.

Mr. Freudenheim was director of the BMA from 1971 to 1978. Then he was head of the museums program at the National Endowment for the Arts and director of the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Mass., before going to the Smithsonian in 1986.

He is one of three assistant provosts there. The other two provosts -- Ross B. Simons, assistant provost for science, and James Early, assistant provost for cultural and education projects -- also had their posts eliminated.

David J. Umansky, spokesman for the Smithsonian, said the decision to eliminate the positions, and their office staffs, was driven both by economy and for "more of the decision-making process to go on at the museum level rather than in the central administration."

For fiscal 1996, a Congressional conference has approved a smaller appropriation for Smithsonian salaries and expenses than in 1995: $308,188,000 as opposed to 1995's $313,853,000. The full Congress must vote on the measure.

Mr. Freudenheim, 58, was philosophical about his fate. "It's not about me personally," he said. "A manager has to understand people making different management moves, so I have got to deal with it. I have to go out and look for another job."

He has had discussions about possible positions but declined to be specific.

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