He is credited with transforming the San Diego facility
through major renovations, dramatic changes in funding sources,
creation of state-of-the-art exhibits and by increasing
the number of visitors to 250,000 a year. Sharon doubled
collection storage, added a 16,000-square-foot education
and design center, and oversaw the renovation of expanded
exhibits, installation of a modern heating, ventilation
and air conditioning system, and the restoration of an historic
"Sharon's strengths in program development, facility planning,
outreach and fundraising are essential in the leadership
of the Hearst at this critical juncture in its history,"
said Robert Price, UC Berkeley's associate vice chancellor
for research and a professor of political science. Priced
chaired the search committee that recommended Sharon.
Sharon will face many challenges at the Hearst that are
similar to those he encountered in San Diego. Based in Kroeber
Hall and home to the largest anthropological collections
in the United States west of the Mississippi, the Hearst
boasts more than 3.8 million objects from early California
and other portions of North America, and from ancient Egypt,
Africa, Oceania and Peru.
Like many public and private museums, the museum has long
suffered from insufficient space and funding. Throughout
its history, directors have juggled museum duties with the
rigors of teaching and field research.
"Doug Sharon is both a seasoned museum professional, as
well as an accomplished anthropologist and scholar," said
Patrick V. Kirch, the outgoing Hearst museum director and
a professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley. Kirch is widely
known for his research on the archaeology and prehistory
of the Pacific Islands.
"I am delighted that, for the first time in its 100-plus-year
history, the Hearst museum will have a full-time director
at the helm," Kirch said. "This is a key element in the
'Vision for Transformation' plan which my staff and I worked
hard to develop over the past four years. I very much look
forward to working with Doug over the next few years."
Sharon already is making plans.
"My first step will be to make what we've got work better,"
he said. "I want to get the museum in the public eye, and
the best way to do that is public education and outreach."
Along those lines, Sharon said, the Hearst staff will work
to expand the museum's lecture series, offer regularly scheduled
exhibits, plan educational programs for K-12 students, and
enhance the museum's links with cultural centers and heritage
"This is public patrimony, and the public should see it,"
Sharon said about sharing the Hearst's collections.
Sharon said another of his key responsibilities will be
fundraising for expanded and improved quarters for the museum
and its collections.
He credited Kirch with bringing the museum into compliance
with the inventory reporting requirements of the Native
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)
and developing a "brilliant, first-rate" strategic plan
for the museum for the next decade. Kirch also oversaw the
recent renovation of the Native Californian Cultures Gallery
to house approximately 500 artifacts from California Indian
collections that are considered the largest and most comprehensive
in the world. "As a museum insider, I've been watching what's
been going on there and have been really impressed," Sharon
He said he has an ongoing relationship with UC Berkeley
that dates back to time he spent working on a post-doctoral
grant on campus with folklore professor Alan Dundes as his
adviser. Sharon also is active in the Institute of Andean
Studies, which holds its annual meeting on campus, and has
researched some of the Hearst's Andean collections.
The author or co-author of five books and 22 scholarly
articles, Sharon earned his PhD degree in anthropology at
UCLA, where he worked in the 1970s as a research anthropologist
at the Latin American Center. He has taught at UCLA, San
Diego State University and California State University at
San Marcos, as well as at the National University of Trujillo,
Peru, where he recently established a field school for ethnobotany
as part of a collaborative program with San Diego State
and the San Diego Museum of Man.
He has done fieldwork in Ecuador and Peru, as well as in
Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Bolivia.
Sharon has worked for decades in Peru and played a key
role in acquiring protection for one of the latest archaeological
finds there -intact, bundled mummies located in steep cliff
tombs on the jungle's edge.
The focus of his research has been the cultural anthropology,
primarily shamanism, of the Andean nations. A documentary
film that he produced on Peruvian shamanism, "Eduardo the
Healer," won awards at the American Film Festival, Modern
Language Film Festival and John Muir Film Festival, as well
as the 1980 Medical Anthropology Award.