Richard N. Murray

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Richard N. Murray (died March 12, 2006) was director of the Birmingham Museum of Art from September 1979 to August 1983. Under his direction, the Museum gained accreditation from the American Association of Museums. He expanded the curatorial staff and education department. He also shepherded the collection of American art from modest to significant stature.

Before coming to Birmingham, Murray was Assistant to the Director, Joshua C. Taylor, at the Smithsonian Institute. He was the Coordinator of the Bicentennial exhibition "America as Art" for the National Collection of Fine Arts.

While Murray was at the Birmingham Museum of Art, he accepted the first gift of the extensive Dwight and Lucille Beeson Collection of Wedgwood and English porcelain. He is also credited with "discovering" self-taught artist Lonnie Holley, who brought his sandstone carvings to the museum and subsequently was included in a major touring exhibition of indigenous Appalachian art organized by the Smithsonian.

After leaving Birmingham, Murray returned to the Smithsonian as a senior art scholar. He died in Washington on March 12, 2006 of heart failure.


  • Trechsel, Gail Andrews (Spring/Summer 2006) "Dear Member:" Birmingham Museum of Art Newsletter.