Island Museum’s executive director steps down

During her time here, Catalina Island Museum Executive Director Julie Perlin Lee instituted a rotating schedule of outdoor sculpture installations featuring Southern California artists. According to the Museum, Lee leaves the museum at a time when its financial stability has never been stronger. Courtesy photo

Julie Perlin Lee will become executive director of Laguna Art Museum on May 3

Catalina Island Museum announced this week that its Executive Director Julie Perlin Lee is stepping down later in the month. Lee and her family will move off the island, where she will assume her new role as Laguna Art Museum’s executive director on May 3.

Since her arrival in 2016, the museum has become the creative and social hub of the Avalon community. Under her direction, the board and staff worked to create a museum that is welcoming to all, enriching every visitors’ Catalina experience.

“There is no way to overstate the positive impact that Julie and her family have had on not only the museum but the city of Avalon and our special community,” said Ron Bevins, chair of the Catalina Island Museum Board of Trustees. “She has carried out the best vision that the museum could hope for and we as a Board only hope to continue to grow upon what has been accomplished so far. We will miss Julie but we are only beginning to bring art and education to our community.”

Lee leaves the museum at a time when its community partnerships, notable exhibitions and programs and financial stability have never been stronger.

With the help of the staff and board, Lee led a period of growth including high-profile exhibitions and educational programs, and the completion of a capital project for the museum’s permanent facility. She instituted a rotating schedule of outdoor sculpture installations featuring Southern California artists including Elizabeth Turk and Peter Shire. She envisioned and brought special exhibitions related to the making of JAWS, the art of José Guadalupe Posada, the filmmaking of Harry Houdini and Esther Williams, and serene paintings showing Avalon when Sugar Loaf stood. Lee significantly increased individual, foundation, and legacy giving, enhanced the care and quality of the museum’s collections, and increased Catalina Island Museum’s recognition and prominence.

“I am so proud of what we have accomplished,” said Lee. “I am certain that the foundation we have built together will allow the next leader to take this organization to even greater heights.”

During their time here, the Lee family has been involved in the Lions Club, Avalon Rotary, Pony Club, Catalina Kid Ventures Preschool and the Catalina Island Medical Center. Much of the family’s life has centered around making extraordinary memories at the museum.

“We feel honored to have played a part in the story of Catalina Island and we look forward to being able to stay connected and to give back to the museum as supporters,” Lee said.

According to the museum, its Board of Trustees will begin the search for a new director immediately. There will be no disruption in the museum’s educational offerings, programming or exhibitions.

The museum has officially reopened. Members and visitors are welcome Wednesday–Sunday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at reduced capacity with enhanced health and safety precautions to ensure the safety of all. For more information, please visit To stay connected and enjoy the museum’s virtual programming during this time, follow the museum’s social media platforms @CatalinaMuseum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Catalina Island Museum offers the best in art and history exhibitions, music and dance performances, lectures by guest speakers from all over the world, and the finest in silent, documentary and international film. The museum’s Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building is located in the heart of Avalon at 217 Metropole Avenue. For more information, the museum may be reached by phone at 310-510-2414 or at its website: