So this is how a National Portrait Gallery ends

Not with a bang, but an email

The Ottawa Citizen reports that the federal institution formerly known as the National Portrait Gallery “is not just homeless—now it’s dead,” according to a memo sent out to employees by its now former director, Lilly Koltun, who also took the opportunity to announce her departure. First announced by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien back in 2001, the gallery—or, at least, the idea of the gallery—has been living in bureaucratic limbo since the Conservative government took over in 2006, first preemptively evicted from its hoped-for future home in the Wellington Street building that once housed the United States embassy, then made the object of a nation-wide bidding war for interested cities, none of which, it turned out, satisfied the government’s requirements, and finally relegated to “virtual” status before eventually being declared officially dead earlier this week. As for the collection itself, the Citizen reports that it is “unclear” what will happen, although Koltun’s farewell email indicates that “some of the functions of the Portrait Gallery, including the staging of exhibitions, will be absorbed into the programs branch of Library and Archives.”

Ottawa Citizen