Deputy Director for Engagement and Innovation
“innovative, engaging, pioneering”
In May 2014, Sonnet Takahisa was appointed Deputy Director for Engagement and Innovation at the Newark Museum. As part of the senior management team she is responsible for implementing the vision of a unique urban museum that specializes in art, science and the humanities. She oversees the Education Division, and advocates across all Museum divisions to ensure an ongoing and productive conversation with a diverse and growing audience. Through innovative leadership, creative partnerships, and strategic planning, she works with colleagues to ensure that the Newark Museum is relevant and inspiring to a 21st century community.
Sonnet has been a member of the Newark Arts Education Roundtable since she arrived in Newark and for the past two years has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Council.
Sonnet has consulted with museums, cultural institutions and schools, focusing on public engagement, community building and education reform. She has served on national and local task forces for museums, arts, pre-K through higher education, government funding agencies and foundations. She initiated programs at Boston Children’s Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. From 1993 – 2003 she was founding co-director of The NYC Museum School, a groundbreaking public school that engaged secondary school students by providing direct access to the resources of cultural institutions. She was Senior Program Officer at New Visions for Public Schools, an academic management organization, where she worked with new schools focused on arts, cultural and youth leadership. For six years, she coordinated the statewide Museum School Partnership Professional Learning Network for the NY State Council on the Arts. Recently she consulted on exhibit planning and design for museums and early childhood education was faculty member of The Johns Hopkins University Museum Studies graduate program.
Director for School, Youth & Family Programs
“committed, dedicated, educator”
Manager of School Programs
Overview of Newark Museum: The Newark Museum is one of the most historic and influential museums in the United States, with the 12th largest collection in the nation. Our 80 galleries of world-class collections include African, American, Asian, Classical art and Decorative Arts from Europe and the Americas, including the largest collection of Tibetan art in the Americas, the 1885 National Historic Landmark Ballantine House, a distinguished and critically acclaimed collection of American Art and one of the most comprehensive collections of African art in the country. The Museum is also nationally recognized as a leader in museum education, devoting a substantial portion of its facilities to youth and family programs and school-based education, serving almost 100,000 visitors each year.
What makes the Newark Museum unique and necessary?: The Newark Museum operates, as it has since its founding, in the public trust as a museum of service, a leader in connecting objects and ideas to the needs and wishes of its constituencies. We believe that our art and science collections have the power to educate, to inspire and transform individuals of all ages, and the local, regional, national and international communities that we serve. In the words of founding director John Cotton Dana, “A good museum attracts, entertains, arouses curiosity, leads to questioning, and thus promotes learning.”
Services provided by the Newark Museum: The Newark Museum provides a full range of education and cultural programs for its constituents.