Urso named executive director at Slater Mill

Urso named executive director at Slater Mill

PAWTUCKET – The Old Slater Mill Association Board of Trustees and President Jerauld Adams have announced that Lori Urso has been selected as the new executive director of the Slater Mill Museum.

Urso was chosen after a nationwide executive search. She will assume the leadership position on Jan. 6 from Keith Fayan, an attorney and former member of the OSMA Board of Trustees who has been serving as interim director. Fayan abbreviated his board term so he could direct the management of the museum during the search period.

Urso comes to Slater Mill Museum with a significant background in nonprofit cultural organization executive leadership, according to a news release. She is experienced in capital project administration, collections management, and program development.

She is the executive director of the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society, Old Washington County Jail Museum and Library and Hale House Museum & Cultural Center. Previously she served as executive director of the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Council, leading all aspects of administration, program development, property acquisition and capital project management, earning a regional EPA Environmental Merit “Lifetime Achievement Award” for projects that included fishway restoration on historic mill sites.

In addition to a facilities development profile that includes the oversight of capital assets, Urso is known for “vibrant, grant-funded humanities programming and as a gifted designer of promotional and curatorial products,” according to the release.

“Her exhibitions reveal a talent for interpretation through the lens of art and history,” it states.

In addition to numerous exhibitions for the Old Washington County Jail Gallery and the Hale House Gallery, Urso was a 2012 guest curator for the sesquicentennial remembrance of the Battle of Antietam, hosted by the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor’s Center.

“I am beyond excited to join the team at the Slater Mill historic site,” said Urso. “Everything I have done professionally in historic preservation and river conservation has prepared me for this challenge. I look forward to becoming acquainted with the many community partners in Pawtucket and throughout the Blackstone Valley.”

A native of Providence and a lifelong Rhode Islander currently residing in West Greenwich, Urso attended Classical High School and holds degrees from Rutgers University and the University of Rhode Island. She has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, and as a Class of 2013 Rhode Island Foundation Leadership Fellow, she visited more than two dozen states to support her personal study of African-American Vaudeville theater and theater houses.

“Following our nationwide call for the Slater Mill Museum executive director position, the trustees and the search committee are delighted and not surprised to find that the experience, talent, and passion for excellence called for in our very robust job description were found here in our own Rhode Island backyard, and cultivated through long, gifted service to agencies within our borders,” said Jerauld Adams, OSMA Board of Trustees president. “However, Lori Urso exemplifies a ‘beyond all borders and beyond all expectations’ standard of accomplishment, creativity, and leadership. We are proud to welcome her to lead the Slater Mill team and community as we embrace the work of our future and carry out our mission to educate and inform in lively and innovative ways that preserve the fabric of the past and weave it into the promise of tomorrow.”

Built in 1793, the Slater Mill is part of a museum complex that includes Old Slater Mill, the 1810 Wilkinson Mill, the 1758 Sylvanus Brown House, archival materials, collections of hand-operated and powered machinery, and an operating 16,000-pound waterwheel.

Slater Mill Museum is situated in a recreational park by the banks of the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, a city known as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.