Bob Bury to Step Down as Executive Director of Detroit Historical Society, Search for Successor Underway


Thomas C. Buhl, chairman of the board of trustees of the Detroit Historical Society, today announced Bob Bury, executive director and CEO, will leave the organization at the end of the current fiscal year (June 30, 2018). Bury has led the Society since 2002.

Bury is responsible for the overall strategic direction, management, and operations of the Detroit Historical Museum in Midtown, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle, and the Collections Resource Center, home to the city’s collection of more than 250,000 historic artifacts.

“The opportunity to lead the Society with an outstanding staff, a supportive board, generous donors, and engaged community partners has been an incredible experience” says Bury. “Over the past 16 years we’ve made great progress, and as Detroit moves forward, (it’s gratifying) knowing our history has never been more important. I am honored to have had the opportunity to direct this important work and look forward to being part of Detroit’s exciting future in other ways in the days ahead.”

Under Bury’s leadership, the Society transformed from a small non-profit organization providing modest support to the Detroit Historical Department that operated the museum for decades, to a fully integrated, visitor-focused organization responsible for all aspects of the museum’s operations, under a long-term agreement with the City of Detroit.

During Bury’s tenure the Detroit Historical Society completed a $21.2M comprehensive campaign resulting in enhanced exhibits and educational programming, improved accessibility of the Society’s extensive collection of artifacts, and advanced the organization’s long-term sustainability. Most recently, the Society convened a host of diverse partners to launch Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward, a community engagement project that included an award-winning exhibition now on display at the Detroit Historical Museum.

“Bob leaves a legacy of achievement and a strong foundation for the Society. We appreciate his years of dedication and service, wish him well in his future endeavors, and look forward to working closely with him in the months ahead to transition the Society to new leadership” says Buhl.

The Society has established a search committee led by Mark Albrecht, vice president of the board, who chairs the organization’s Human Resources committee. Gary Dembs and the Non-Profit Personnel Network has been retained to assist in the search.

The Detroit Historical Society is a private, nonprofit organization located in Midtown, the heart of Detroit’s cultural center. Founded in 1921, its mission is to tell Detroit’s stories and why they matter.

In addition to operating the Detroit Historical Museum and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Society is responsible for the conservation and preservation of more than 250,000 artifacts that represent three centuries of the region’s history. Through its museum exhibits, school tour programs, community-based programs, and history-themed outreach efforts, the Society serves more than 150,000 people annually.

For more information on the Detroit Historical Society, visit

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