Mark A. Tullos, Jr.
, has been named Interim Director of the USS KIDD Veterans Museum by the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission. The Commission is the non-funded state agency responsible for the operations and oversight of the facility. Mr. Tullos was named to the position at a recent meeting of the Commission’s Executive Committee. Today marks his first day on the job, meeting with staff members and getting acquainted with the museum’s current operations. His appointment comes in the wake of the recent resignation of former Executive Director Alejandra Juan. A committee has been formed to conduct a search for a permanent replacement. “We are very fortunate to have Mark join us,” said Commission Chairman Henson Moore. “His experience in museum management is just what we need at this point in our history and in our plans for the future.”
Mr. Tullos joins a distinguished lineage of leadership at the veterans museum. Commander Vernon W. Condon, USN (Ret.), served as the Commission’s first executive director, shepherding the project from hopeful vision to a concrete reality with the acquisition of the USS KIDD and her arrival in Baton Rouge. U.S. Army veteran Dr. Malcolm Shuman, PhD, took charge after Condon’s departure in 1983, bringing a background in museum work to aid the organization in its first fifteen months of operation. Beginning in 1985, Timothy C. Rizzuto—now recognized internationally as an expert on historic ship preservation, specifically with destroyer type vessels—served the dual role of Ship Superintendent and Acting Director for the next six years. H. Maury Drummond was selected as the next Executive Director in 1991, allowing Rizzuto to return his full attention to the KIDD’s restoration. Drummond’s prior experience as a teacher and later an insurance agent provided a needed one-two punch for the museum’s education and marketing programs. He served the next 22 years until his retirement in 2013. His replacement, Captain Alejandra Juan, former U.S. Air Force, has been recognized for rejuvenating the organization with new programming for children and veterans that has caught the attention of similar museums across the nation. Following her departure from the KIDD, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Joey Strickland appointed her as Communications Director and Women Veterans Coordinator for the department.
Mr. Tullos, a native of Baton Rouge, is a graduate of Louisiana State University, with graduate work conducted at Stephen F. Austin University. He brings to the position an extensive background in museum work. He has previously served as director of the Art Center (Waco, TX), the Armory Art Center (West Palm Beach, FL), the Alexandria Museum of Art (Alexandria, LA), the Walter Anderson Museum of Art (Ocean Springs, MS), the Museum of East Texas (Lufkin, TX), and the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Most recently, he served as the director of the Louisiana State Museum system. The system includes nine facilities located across the state.
“I look forward to working with the staff and volunteers as we meet present and future challenges for this great museum and memorial,” Mr. Tullos stated. “I cannot imagine a more important time to come on board than on the eve of Memorial Day and our upcoming 4th of July celebration.”
For more information, please contact Interim Director Mark Tullos, Jr., via phone at (225) 342-1942, Ext. 12, or via email at MTullos@usskidd.com.