National Museum director Harris to retire

  • Bowing out: Edward Harris to retire from the National Museum of Bermuda after 37 years of service

    Bowing out: Edward Harris to retire from the National Museum of Bermuda after 37 years of service

Archaeologist Edward Harris will retire as executive director of the National Museum of Bermuda after 37 years of service.

The museum’s board of trustees said Dr Harris, 70, will continue as a special adviser to the museum, as well as pursuing his writing and research.

He will be succeeded by the museum’s deputy director and curator, Elena Strong.

“Edward’s major achievements through his work at the museum have been magnificent but, underpinning the work, he also laid an extraordinarily rich foundation of relationships with academics, donors, members and friends across the globe,” said James Hallett, chairman of the NMB board of trustees.

“We look forward to his continued counsel and support in retirement and we are delighted with his contribution in preparing Elena Strong to be his successor. Elena will bring new skills and a different perspective, placing the museum in good hands for its future strategic development.”

Dr Harris joined then Bermuda Maritime Museum in 1980 as its first director and oversaw the institution’s evolution from a derelict fortress into an award-winning heritage centre.

The former Mount St. Agnes student graduated from Columbia University, New York, in 1971, and earned a PhD at University College London in 1979.

He gained worldwide recognition in 1973 for inventing the Harris Matrix, by which stratigraphic sequences of archaeological sites could be viewed in diagram form for the first time.

The technique became the industry standard and his book, Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy, has been published in seven languages, with four more translations in the offing.

Dr Harris said: “As a Bermudian, it has been an honour to serve the country in the role of director of the museum and I thank all of those from government and private life who made the advance of the museum possible by their many contributions to the cause”.

Dr Harris was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2000 in recognition of his services to Bermuda’s cultural heritage.

He championed legislation to preserve Bermuda’s early shipwreck sites and played a leading role in the successful campaign to get St George’s Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2010.

Over the next few months, a series of events will be held to mark Dr Harris’s contributions. The first will be the “Out with a Bang” celebration on November 18, to which all museum members and the general public are invited.

The party will mark his retirement and help raise funds for the museum to continue its work in heritage preservation and research. Tickets go on sale at the end of the week. For more information contact

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Published Oct 18, 2017 at 12:01 am (Updated Oct 18, 2017 at 7:15 am)

National Museum director Harris to retire

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