Nancy Brennan, executive director of City Life Museums for the past 12 years, is leaving Baltimore to take a job to start a museum in Bermuda that will exhibit the island's early settlements, its maritime archaeology and the evolution of diving.
Yesterday, Ms. Brennan, whose love of diving goes back 20 years, said, "I've been given a very unusual opportunity to work in an area that I've been interested in as an avocation."
City Life Museums' board announced yesterday that Ms. Brennan will be replaced by Assistant Director John W. Durel. Ms. Brennan's resignation took effect yesterday.
The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute is being built in Hamilton Harbor and will open in 1997. It will contain 40,000 square feet of exhibit space and a restaurant, said Ms. Brennan, 46.
She said the new job will last three to five years because Bermuda has a limitation on non-Bermudans working there.
"I will be back in Baltimore at the end of that stay. What attracts me to this opportunity is similar to what attracted me to take this [Baltimore] job -- a chance to shape the institution," she said.
During the time Ms. Brennan operated City Life Museums, the institution grew from two buildings to eight sites, including the Center for Urban Archaeology and the renovated Shot Tower just east of downtown, as well as the H. L. Mencken House in Union Square in Southwest Baltimore.
The museum also broke away from city government and became independent during her stay.
She also has overseen the construction of the Morton K. Blaustein City Life Exhibition Center at 29 S. Front St. in East Baltimore, to open in April.
The center will include exhibits of Baltimore's development, ranging from the meaning of the Orioles and the city's white marble steps to Baltimoreans, to the transformation of public housing.