Entertainment & Arts

George Lucas hires Crystal Bridges president to head his new museum

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
An architectural rendering provided by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art shows the design of the planned museum along Chicago’s lakefront.
(Associated Press)

George Lucas has anointed a new Jedi knight to head his new museum.

The “Star Wars” filmmaker has tapped the current president of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas to lead his planned Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago. Don Bacigalupi is scheduled to begin his new job as founding president in January.

Bacigalupi will initially focus on the planning, organization and construction of the museum, according to the official announcement released Monday. His appointment was made by the museum’s board of directors, of which Lucas serves as chairman.

“Don shares my vision for building an education-focused, world-class museum that expands public understanding and appreciation of narrative art,” Lucas said in the announcement.


Bacigalupi joined the Crystal Bridges Museum in 2009 and most recently served as its president. (Crystal Bridges, which was founded by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, opened to the public in 2011.) Prior to that, he headed the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio and served as executive director of the San Diego Museum of Art.

He will remain a member on the Crystal Bridges board of directors, according to the announcement from the Lucas museum.

In the announcement, Bacigalupi said he is "honored and excited to be joining the Lucas Museum as its Founding President, and I look forward to working with George and the Board to bring to life an inspiring museum that will expand our awareness and appreciation of the central role of narrative art in our culture.”

The Lucas museum is expected to be built on Chicago’s lakefront museum campus, which also serves as home to the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. The new museum campus, which isn’t expected to open until 2018, is being designed by Chinese architect Ma Yansong and Chicago-based Jeanne Gang. 


Last week, an environmental group filed a lawsuit against the museum in federal court, saying that it would disrupt the ecosystem of the lakefront area.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT