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.
The Neon Museum, which welcomes more than 300,000 visitors a year, is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is one of only six accredited museums in Nevada.
Aaron relocated to Las Vegas for the position because of the unique opportunity it presented – shepherding the growth of the museum in support of its mission of collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. Aaron was especially drawn to The Neon Museum for its extensive repository of iconic neon signs that represents an unparalleled convergence of art and history in one of the country’s most unique and dynamic cities.
Within weeks of joining The Neon Museum, Aaron oversaw the launch of Spanish-speaking tours with plans to enlarge the museum’s programming for special interest groups and populations, including K-12 educational offerings. Aaron’s arrival at The Neon Museum is well timed given the museum’s expansion plans that Aaron is now directing and reshaping to ensure the museum grows to best accommodate the city’s vibrant tourism industry while meeting the community’s needs as an educational institution.
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. There, he developed the celebrated Local Color exhibitions, Full Blown Blues music series, and ARTiculate educational program for gifted high school students. As a result, 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 was 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 partner, Dr. Jarred Lightner, and their dog, Linus.