The Neon Museum announced that Aaron Berger has been selected as the museum’s executive director. Selected after a comprehensive and broad-based search spanning the U.S. and beyond, Berger brings to the museum extensive experience in museum leadership, nonprofit fundraising and community engagement.
Berger, who recently relocated to Las Vegas, NV, from Atlanta, GA, most recently
served as the executive director for five years at The Breman Museum in Atlanta, raising annual attendance by 32 percent and garnering accolades such as Must See Destination by Trip Advisor and one of the Best Museums in Atlanta by USA Today 10Best during his tenure.
Berger began his career as the curator for the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art and was ultimately named director after staging exhibitions of Winslow Homer, Robert Indiana and founding the annual juried exhibition Metro Montage, which continues today. He then went on to become director for the Albany Museum of Art, making him one of the youngest in the country to lead a nationally accredited museum. While in Albany, Berger developed the celebrated Local Color exhibitions, Full Blown Blues music series, and the heralded ARTiculate educational program for gifted high school students. As a result, the museum experienced a 104 percent growth in membership and was named Institution of the Year for 2005 by the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries.
Most recently, Berger was managing partner at ABC, a consulting agency focused on strategic planning, funding plans, leadership development and effective messaging in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Aaron’s experience with nonprofit fundraising and successful track record of leading museums, including raising their profiles through developing exhibits and community partnerships, will be a valuable asset to The Neon Museum,” said Uri Vaknin, chairman of the museum’s board of trustees. “He joins the museum during a critical but exciting time, as it continues to evolve its guest experience and move forward with an expansion into the Reed Whipple Cultural Center that will double the size of the museum’s campus. As we look to mark our ten-year anniversary in 2022, Aaron’s arrival is especially well timed.”
“The Neon Museum is unrivaled not only because it’s home to an amazing repository of iconic neon signs, but because it exemplifies a great convergence of art and history,” said Berger on why he chose to take the position and move to Las Vegas. “There is no other place where you can gain the perspective that The Neon Museum offers on the unique stories behind the signs and how they fit into Vegas history and the broader community.”
Berger has earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from the College of Charleston in South Carolina as well as a Master of Business Administration from South University in Savannah, GA. He is a proud graduate of both Leadership Albany (2003), the Getty Museum Leadership Institute (2004), and Leadership Atlanta (2017). He also served as faculty for the Jekyll Island Management Institute teaching fundraising to rising museum professionals from across the country.
Bruce Spotleson, who had been the museum’s interim executive director during the worldwide search, will remain on the museum’s executive team as deputy director and will continue to oversee the museum’s capital campaign.