With 20-plus years of experience in museum leadership, nonprofit fundraising, and community engagement, Aaron Berger joined The Neon Museum in Las Vegas in July 2021 as executive director.
Since then, Aaron and his leadership team have emphasized learning opportunities through guided tours in Spanish and English that provide the history of Las Vegas, architectural voices, and even pop culture movies. The K-12 program offers curriculum-based lessons in STEAM, Social Justice, and Industry. In an effort to expand accessibility to education, the Museum has launched an initiative with Title 1 schools to receive free tours, lesson plans, and bus accommodations and SNAP/EBT cardholders receiving free or dramatically reduced admission to the Museum’s offerings. Further, the Museum has launched Duck Duck Shed, a celebration of Las Vegas Architecture, Design + Culture that welcomed over 3000 attendees in its first year alone.
Under Aaron’s leadership, The Neon Museum has enjoyed regional, national, and international media attention through print, web, podcast and television. The Neon Museum was recognized alongside The Metropolitan, The Getty, and the Smithsonian as one of the top 27 museums in America by Travel + Leisure and USA Today awarded “The Best Pop Culture Museum.” Museum leadership has become the authority on arts & culture and architecture in Las Vegas by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Travel Weekly, The Times, Forbes, and more.
Aaron began his career as the curator for the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art and was ultimately named director after staging exhibitions of Winslow Homer, Robert Indiana and founding the annual juried exhibition, Metro Montage, which continues today.
He went on to become director of the Albany Museum of Art, making him one of the youngest in the country to lead a nationally accredited museum. Through innovative, community-based programming, the museum experienced a 104 percent growth in membership, was named Institution of the Year for 2005 by the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries and further recognized by the state legislature for its positive impact on the community.
Aaron also served as executive director of The Breman Museum presenting celebrated exhibitions and landmark programs that led to increasing annual attendance by 32 percent and the annual operating budget by approximately 67 percent.
During his career, Aaron has worked with a leading Atlanta-based nonprofit fundraising consulting firm and with cultural organizations around the country in the areas of operational fundraising, nonprofit management, board development and large-scale capital campaigns for cultural venues from Honolulu to Boston. Just prior to taking the helm of The Neon Museum, Aaron was managing partner at ABC, a consulting agency focused on strategic planning, funding plans, leadership development, and effective messaging in Atlanta, Georgia.
Aaron earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from the College of Charleston in South Carolina and a Master of Business Administration from South University in Savannah, Georgia. He is a graduate of Leadership Albany (2003), the Getty Museum Leadership Institute (2004), and Leadership Atlanta (2017). He also served as faculty for the Jekyll Island Management Institute teaching fundraising to rising museum professionals from across the country.
Aaron resides in downtown Las Vegas with his husband, Dr. Jarred Lightner, and their dog, Linus.