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Making its Own History

HistoryMiami Museum selects its first female CEO and Executive Director: Natalia Crujeiras

From immigrant to proud American, Crujeiras will lead a reimagining campaign that builds on the museum’s legacy and creates transformation to unite all Miamians

HistoryMiami Museum’s Board of Trustees today announced the selection of Natalia Crujeiras as its new CEO and Executive Director. She is the first female CEO in the museum’s 82-year history. She assumes her leadership role on October 3, 2022. 

“I am deeply honored to accept the position of executive director of HistoryMiami Museum and feel grateful for this opportunity,” said Ms. Crujeiras. “I firmly believe that museums are critical institutions that connect people to place, where we can build bridges of understanding, celebrate our differences and acknowledge our shared humanity. I want to help make those connections and amplify all voices by eliminating barriers of access, such as affordability and mobility, and increase participation. Together with our board, the museum team and the community, we can democratize the arts and elevate HistoryMiami Museum as the best location to celebrate our history and envision a Miami we all deserve.” 

After a six-month search, the museum trustees unanimously voted in support of Ms. Crujeiras. The first-generation American immigrant embodies the American dream with her countless contributions to the growth of many influential institutions in Miami. Leveraging that experience, she will lead a reimagining campaign to build on the museum’s legacy and create programming that elevates the audience experience and fosters greater engagement and retention through inclusive design thinking, evolving technologies and gripping storytelling.  

Another layer to her strategic plan will be leading the Smithsonian-affiliated museum on a search for a new home. The museum has been in its current location, 101 W. Flagler Street in Miami, since 1984; the county is looking at alternative locations as part of a master plan project.    

“Natalia is a high-energy change agent whose passionate commitment to highlighting and celebrating cultural and artistic resources will build upon HistoryMiami’s exceptional collection and continue to propel us forward in sharing our collective history with our community,” HistoryMiami Board of Trustees Chair, John Shubin said. “She is a remarkable communicator and educator with a clear vision as to how our history influences and shapes who we are and how we consider and address our current circumstances. We are so excited about HistoryMiami’s future under Natalia’s leadership.” 

In her most recent role, Crujeiras was Executive Director of Cultural Affairs, Miami Dade College, overseeing six treasured Miami-Dade cultural institutions, serving more than 400,000 people annually. These include the Miami Book Fair, National History Landmark Freedom Tower, Miami Dade College Special Collections Galleries, and the Miami Film Festival. She managed a $10M a year budget and led efforts for lasting private-public partnerships, foundations, and community relations. Earlier in her career, she served as the Chief Content Officer at the United States Agency for Global Media. There, Crujeiras captained efforts to circumvent censorship, support independent journalists and entrepreneurs, and expand access to free internet in Cuba and Venezuela. Prior to that, she worked for the news divisions at Univision and Telemundo networks. She was also Director of Broadcast Operations at the University of Miami and taught multi-media journalism. 

Most recently, and topping her impressive resume, is her selection as a USA 2021 Eisenhower Fellow. On fellowship, she toured Western European countries exploring best practices in developing accessible and equitable experiences for museums and cultural centers.  

“How privileged are we to be in the business of interpreting the city’s past and present and reimagine a better future!” said Crujeiras, who has called Miami home since 2000.” HMM holds a robust and vast collection that has countless stories yet to be told. As a lifelong history buff, it excites me beyond words to be tasked with documenting and celebrating Miami’s history. I hope my leadership and vision can spark our curiosity for one another and reinforce that there are more things uniting us than separating us.”   

Crujeiras succeeds Jorge Zamanillo, who was tapped in February as the founding director of the Smithsonian’s newly created National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C.  

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Tags: , Last modified: September 22, 2022