The Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s Board of Trustees has named Sue Turner trustee emerita.
Turner, a longtime preservationist and titan of Louisiana philanthropy, retired from the museum's Advisory Council this spring after nearly 60 years of service.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the museum would not be where it is today without the involvement of Sue,” said Winnie Byrd, a longtime Advisory Council member, retired board member and fellow preservationist. “She spearheaded the effort to create this museum. She brought people from all over the state together to make this wonderful dream of a museum a reality for our community.”
Turner was a member of the Junior League steering committee that created the Baton Rouge Arts and Science Center, the earliest iteration of the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, in 1960. With her husband Bert Turner, founder and chairman emeritus of Turner Industries, Sue Turner went on to help hire the museum’s first executive director, Adalié Brent, grow the museum’s collection of fine art and renovate the museum's historic railroad depot, home to LASM since the 1970s. Additionally, the Turners funded the construction of the Bert S. Turner Atrium in 2003.
“Sue has nurtured LASM for more than five decades, rarely missing a board meeting whether she was officially on the board or not,” said Carol Gikas, retired president and executive director. “Sue and Bert have been generous supporters of the museum for more than a half-century, making so many things possible.”
Sue Turner’s influence on the development of LASM extends beyond the building and its collection.
“Sue’s impact has been to protect the past while looking to the future,” said Gikas. “This speaks to why LASM is housed in a renovated 1925 passenger train station with a state-of-the-art planetarium. She believes that museums are vital in bringing the entire community together, and she cares deeply that people from all walks of life have an accessible museum in their lives.”
This is the first time the board has named an emeritus member, said Serena Pandos, president and executive director.
“Sue’s lifetime generosity of time, talent and treasure continue to positively impact our educational programs and visitor experience,” she said. “She’s a champion in education, culture and community building. We’re exceedingly grateful for her contributions and for the opportunity to acknowledge Sue Turner as trustee emerita.”
The Turners' five children — Suzanne Turner, Robert Turner, Mary Margaret “Moo” Svendson, Thomas Turner and John Turner — are all involved with the museum as members, donors and board members.
“I feel like my siblings and I grew up at LASM," said Suzanne Turner, who serves as a member at large on the museum’s board of trustees and sits on its executive and collections and programs committees. "Mom lived and breathed the museum and its future. With my current service on the board, the imprint of this institution has come full circle. It’s a powerful legacy that Mom and Adalié Brent have built together.”