Last Friday, the Burlington Free Press ran a small, nonbylined article that brought a big surprise to the staff of the Shelburne Museum. Referencing another article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it stated that director Stephan Jost was one of three finalists for a position at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. The Free Press article further noted that Sam Ankerson, head of development for the Shelburne, was “unaware of Jost’s candidacy for the job.”
According to Jost, so was he. And he had some ’splainin’ to do when he returned Friday night from a trip to Switzerland. “It was a rough weekend,” says Jost, who insists both newspaper reports were wrong. “On one hand, I’m flattered, but it’s completely false.”
How, then, did the Pittsburgh reporter come up with such a story? “She said she ‘had her sources,’” says Jost, who checked. “But I wasn’t one of them.”
Neither was the communications office of the Carnegie Museum, according to spokesperson Ellen James. “We are conducting a search for a new director,” she confirms, “but it’s a private, confidential search, so I don’t know where that info came from, but it wasn’t from us.” James says she’s not at liberty to reveal the names of candidates for the position, nor any results of the search so far.
Meanwhile, Jost is gearing up for a new season of exhibits at the Shelburne Museum — another eclectic selection that includes motorcycles and Art Nouveau objets from Tiffany — and claims he’s not going anywhere. “If the Tate [Museum] in London called, I’d say, ‘Let’s have a conversation,’” he quips. “But otherwise, I’m pretty busy here.”
The Free Press and the Post-Gazette both ran brief, unbylined follow-ups, on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, in which an employee of the firm conducting the Carnegie search stated that Jost had not, in fact, applied.