"Well, I'm still a bit stunned but otherwise all right," was the response of a staff member at the Textile Museum to a recent telephone inquiry about the unexpected resignation of director Andrew Oliver Jr. "I just felt that I was doing the same thing over again," commented Oliver, 45, director since 1975, after his surprise announcement to the museum's board at its December meeting. "It was time to make a break and get out and look for the next thing."
Oliver joined the museum at a time of trouble: A large-scale expansion was foundering for lack of funds and intense opposition from its Kalorama neighbors. Oliver turned things around, overseeing a more modest expansion program and a $1.1 million renovation of the two elegant homes on S Street NW the museum has occupied since its founding in 1915 by George Hewitt Myers, an avid rug collector with Bristol-Myers wealth.
Regretting Oliver's departure, museum president Arthur D. Jenkins noted "the substantial growth the museum has witnessed during his tenure as director." Membership and attendance have increased substantially in recent years in response to new programs. Oliver will serve as a one-day-a-week consultant to the museum for the next three months before joining his archeologist wife, Diana, at a dig in Cyprus. Come summer, he will be back in Washington to consider what the "next thing" might be.