The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has hired Joe Urschel as executive director of their National Law Enforcement Museum, which is scheduled to open in 2014 in Washington, D.C.'s Judiciary Square.
Urschel, the former longtime executive director of the Newseum, officially assumed the office on March 5 and will oversee the development, construction, opening and operation of the Museum. Urschel was selected after a five-month national search.
"During his remarkable career, Joe has developed and launched two highly successful national museums in the Washington, D.C. area, and we could not be any prouder or more fortunate to add him to our leadership team," said Craig W. Floyd, NLEOMF's chairman and CEO. "As a museum leader with a journalism background, Joe knows how to tell a story in an experiential, educational and entertaining way. He also knows how to take a great vision and turn it into reality."
After serving as a journalist with the Detroit Free Press and USA Today for nearly 20 years, Urschel became the executive director of the Newseum—an interactive museum of news and journalism—in 1996. Under Urschel's leadership, the first Newseum opened in Rosslyn, Va., in April 1997. Over the next five years, the Newseum attracted more than two million visitors.
Beginning in 2002, Urschel led the effort by the Freedom Forum to move the Newseum to its current location on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., where it reopened in April 2008. It has become one of the most popular destinations in the nation's capital, with some 700,000 visitors a year.
While at the helm from 1996-2011, Urschel was involved in all aspects of the Newseum, including content development, fundraising, artifact collection and marketing. "Joe's experience and expertise will ensure that the National Law Enforcement Museum becomes the next great destination in Washington, D.C.," Floyd said.
"I am proud of what the Newseum has done to introduce millions of visitors to the vital role that journalists and the news industry have played in our society throughout history," Urschel said. "Now, I am eager to do the same for the profession of law enforcement. It is a story that is rich with great characters, great conflict and great drama-all of the ingredients necessary for a great museum. It is a story that must be told."
Authorized by Congress in 2000, this will be the first museum to tell the story of American law enforcement. It will be built by the NLEOMF across the street from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (400 block of E Street, NW). The Memorial, established by NLEOMF in 1991, bears the names of more than 19,000 federal, state and local law officers who have been killed in the line of duty.