Former Executive Director Remembered

The Wright Museum is saddened to announce the unexpected passing of former executive director Michael Culver on June 18, 2024.

Mike started at the Wright Museum in 2013, serving as executive director for 9 years. During his tenure, Mike introduced several innovations that elevated David Wright’s mission to educate Americans about the “Greatest Generation.” This included an enhanced lecture series featuring numerous best-selling authors and the introduction of exceptional traveling exhibits, thus broadening the museum’s reach from that of a small local attraction to a world-class museum. Mike was also instrumental in the development of the “Pvt. Charles J. Miller: WWII Paintings from the South Pacific” exhibit, which has become a favorite of visitors to the Wright Museum and the various museums throughout the country it has visited as a traveling exhibit.

The museum underwent a major renovation in 2019-20 to coincide with its 25th anniversary, and Mike was the visionary behind these renovations. Improvements included a major revamp of the visitor center, art gallery, archives, and the addition of the DuQuoin Education Center; all of which were dreamed up in what he would often joke about as “Mike’s perfect world.”

Prior to entering the museum world, Mike began his career as an educator. He had a tremendous appreciation for learning, and he prided himself on continuing to educate the public on art and history. Under his leadership and guidance, this passion was of a great benefit to the variety of interns, volunteers and staff Mike worked with.

Mike was predeceased by his loving wife Gail in 2020. He is survived by his beloved son, Zachary Culver, his wife Meredith and his sons Jacob and Lucas Culver; and his adoring and eternally grateful daughter, Amanda Davis and her sons Brady and Flynn who depended on “Pa” as their unfaltering supporter, especially in recent years.

All of us here at the Wright Museum express our sincere condolences to Mike’s family – he will be missed.