WASHINGTON (AP) — The founding president of the Autry National Center of the American West, a group of museums in Los Angeles and Denver, has been named director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington.The Smithsonian announced the appointment of John Gray on Tuesday to lead one of the nation's most popular museums on the National Mall. Gray had a 25-year career in commercial banking and served in the U.S. Small Business Administration before joining the museum field.In 1999, Gray became CEO of a museum devoted to the legacy of movie star Gene Autry in Los Angeles and is credited with transforming it into a major cultural center. Gray merged it with Colorado's Women of the West Museum and Los Angeles' Southwest Museum of the American Indian.

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