Erie museum director departs after work behavior reports

January 13, 2020 GMT

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — The Erie Art Museum’s board said Monday it cut ties with its executive director, Joshua Helmer, days after a newspaper reported that he had dated and made advances toward women he worked with, including some who reported to him.

The New York Times reported last week that a staff email indicated Helmer had been barred from entering the building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he had previously worked. The paper said he had dated women subordinates in Philadelphia in an apparent violation of its policies, and recounted complaints that included berating comments.


The museum’s Board of Directors said last week it was reviewing the Times article, and released a statement Monday saying Helmer “is no longer employed at the Erie Art Museum.”

Helmer was assistant director for interpretation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art before being hired for the Erie museum’s top job last October.

A phone listing could not be located for Helmer, and museum officials did not respond to requests for comment. Helmer declined to discuss his relationships and treatment of women to the Times, suggesting to the paper that office politics were behind the allegations.