by Guy Page
In light of allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against architect Sir David Adjaye, Shelburne Museum will no longer be engaging him or his firm, Adjaye Associates, as design architect of a building planned to house the Museum’s collection of Native American art, the museum announced July 13.
The world-renowned architect based in New York was accused by three unnamed former employees of sexual assault and harrassment in a July 4 news article in the Financial Times. To date, no criminal charges have been brought. The accusations prompted Adjaye to voluntarily withdraw from many of the firm’s projects and to resign from several advisory positions.
“The recent allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against David Adjaye, and his admission of inappropriate behavior, are incompatible with our mission and values, which left the museum with no alternative but to immediately sever ties with the architect and his firm,” said Thomas Denenberg, John Wilmerding Director and CEO of Shelburne Museum. “We remain committed to moving forward with the project and the many other partners and collaborators who have been involved since its conceptualization.”
Adjaye, knighted by Queen Elizabeth into the Order of Merit and the Order of the British Empire (OBE), is a Ghanaian-British architect born in Tanzania, according to the bio on his firm’s website. His largest project to date, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in 2016 and was named Cultural Event of the Year by The New York Times.
In 2017, Adjaye was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME Magazine. He is also the recipient of the World Economic Forum’s 27th Annual Crystal Award, which recognizes his “leadership in serving communities, cities and the environment”.
In May, Shelburne Museum announced the Perry Center for Native American Art, part of a major initiative that includes stewardship of an important collection of Native American art and construction of a building and integrated landscape collaboratively designed to create a national resource for the study and care of Indigenous art.
The Perry Center for Native American Art is planned to be a highly sustainable pavilion designed to support the culturally appropriate interpretation and care of Indigenous material culture. Designed and realized through a rigorous process in partnership with Indigenous voices, the Perry Center will serve as a welcoming space for Tribal members and scholars to study and engage with the collection and will reimagine the museum experience for all visitors including the local community, schoolchildren and tourists.
The Perry Center is named in honor of Tony and Tessa Perry. Restaurateur Tony Perry founded the Sirloin Saloons in Manchester and Shelburne, Dakotas, Sweetwaters, and Perry’s Fish House
Some content sourced from Shelburne Museum press statement.