The Long Island Museum Announces New Leadership

Sarah Abruzzi and Joshua Ruff

Appointed Co-Executive Directors

Stony Brook, NY – October 11, 2022 … The Long Island Museum (LIM), a Smithsonian affiliate dedicated to American history and art with a Long Island connection, announced today that Sarah Abruzzi and Joshua Ruff have been appointed to the joint role of Co-Executive Directors of the Museum. Neil Watson, former Executive Director of the LIM, retired on October 7th after nine years of dedicated leadership.
Board of Trustees Chair Thomas M. Sullivan expressed his gratitude on behalf of the board to Watson for his years of impactful leadership and welcomed both Co-Executive Directors to their new roles.
“We are very excited to be able to benefit from the combined knowledge and skills of both Joshua Ruff and Sarah Abruzzi,” said Sullivan. “The unique combination of their talents and past successes coupled with the continuity from each of them having worked as part of Neil Watson’s leadership team, presented us with the opportunity to create a joint leadership structure.”
The new organizational structure builds upon the strong and collaborative work environment that Watson cultivated at the LIM during his tenure. Over the past several years, the three have worked closely with the rest of the LIM’s talented Senior Staff to create an equitable culture among the entire LIM staff of 39 people. Watson’s visionary plan of streamlining LIM’s work flow into two main areas is now in effect, with Ruff responsible for Collections and Programming, and Abruzzi responsible for Operations.
Sarah Abruzzi is an accomplished executive and fundraising professional with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Throughout her career, she has worked in all aspects of museum operations, including education, interpretation, collections management, volunteer coordination, fundraising, finance, HR, communications, and government relations. Sarah grew up in Port Jefferson and remembers with great fondness her childhood visits to the LIM with her family. She first worked at the LIM in the late 2000s before spending eight years outside of the museum field serving as the lead fundraiser for Dr. Richard Leakey’s Kenya-based human origins research project at Stony Brook University. Abruzzi jumped at the chance to return to the LIM in 2017 as Director of Major Gifts and Special Projects. Abruzzi’s amiable management style and thoughtful approach to leadership paved the way for her promotion to Deputy Director/Director of Advancement & External Affairs in February 2019. Additionally, she previously served as Director of Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay, and of The Three Village Historical Society in Setauket.
“Josh and I are proud to take the helm during this exciting time for the LIM,” said Sarah Abruzzi, Co-Executive Director of the Long Island Museum. “ Everything we do here at the Museum is geared towards better engaging and serving our community. We can’t wait to bring to fruition several of the campus-wide projects that have been in the works that will do just that.”
Photo: Sarah Abruzzi, Co-Executive Director of the Long Island Museum.
Photo credit: Kristin Cuomo
Entering his 25th year at the LIM, including the last three as a Deputy Director and the last nine as the Director of Collections & Interpretation, managing both the Curatorial and Education departments, Joshua Ruff has a proven track record of strong leadership, excellence, and versatility as well as years of expertise in all facets of museum operations. A lifelong resident of New York State, he is a graduate of Syracuse University with BAs in Broadcast Journalism and in History, and Stony Brook University with a MA in History. After curating or co-curating nearly 70 exhibitions of a variety of scale and scope and many publications, Ruff is a recognized scholar of Long Island art and history, two crucial components of the Museum’s mission. In addition to co-authoring several books and exhibition catalogs, his articles have appeared in publications including the Magazine Antiques; American Art Review; New York Archives Magazine; and American History magazine. Beyond his work at the Long Island Museum, Ruff has served in a variety of service capacities for outside organizations, including as Grant Reviewer for NYSCA’s Museum Program (2015-2018) and as an incoming member of the Board of Directors for the Museum Association of New York (2022-2025).
Photo: Joshua Ruff, Co-Executive Director
of the Long Island Museum.
Photo credit: Kristin Cuomo
“This Museum is a regional treasure and we want to make it even better,” said Joshua Ruff, Co-Executive Director of the Long Island Museum. “Our hopes are to expand the level and quality of our exhibitions and programs, diversify our collections, and work inclusively with artists and communities across Long Island. We are really excited for the future and looking forward to growing our institution’s capacity.”
“The museum continues to evolve in its collections, programs and educational offerings in order to further serve the community. To that end, having a co-leadership structure provides the perfect blend to guide the vision and success in the coming years,” continued Sullivan.
Located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults and children with an understanding of Long Island’s rich history and diverse cultures. Regular museum hours are Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $5 for students 6 -17 and college students with I.D. Children under six are admitted for free. Tickets are available at the History Museum entrance; pre-registration is not required. 
Long Island Museum | 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook, NY 11790
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