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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Dennis Kois was named the Milwaukee Public Museum's new president and CEO this afternoon. (PHOTO: Rick Mansfield)

Milwaukee Public Museum names new president and CEO


The Milwaukee Public Museum's (MPM) Board of Directors announced today that Dennis Kois, currently the executive director of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Boston, will be the museum's new president and CEO.

Kois will assume his new role as the museum's president and CEO on May 1. He is taking over for Jay Williams, who stepped aside as the museum's president in August 2013. Williams, however, is still involved with the Milwaukee Public Museum as board chairman.

Kois is a Whitefish Bay native who graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a bachelor's degree in museum design. He then went to New York University, where he earned his master's degree in museum studies.

Since his college years, Kois has worked at some of the country's premier museums. He served as assistant chief designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, as well as chief designer and head of publications and digital media for both the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. He also worked as the executive director of the Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas before taking on the same title at his current post – the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum – in 2008.

"I owe the start of my career in museums to the MPM field trips of my youth," Kois said in a press release late this afternoon.

"It was during those school visits that I discovered that MPM connected me to a world of ideas, history and culture that was, in the most literal sense of the word, transforming. There's a great deal we can do to build on the good work of Jay Williams, the board and the talented MPM team to advance MPM as an example of how American museums can be even more central to our civic life and citizens. I love Milwaukee and MPM, and I'm excited to be coming home."


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