The Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) Board of Directors announced Wednesday morning that museum President and CEO Dennis Kois will resign at the end of August for undisclosed personal reasons.
As the museum’s Board of Directors begins a nation-wide search for a replacement, the museum’s Senior V.P. and Academic Dean, Dr. Ellen Censky – who has experience running other museums – will become acting President and CEO.
"We want to thank Dennis for his leadership during the last four years during an incredibly important period for the Milwaukee Public Museum," said Thad Nation, Board member and co-chair of the Museum’s Strategic Planning Core Committee, in a statement this morning.
A Milwaukee native, Kois joined the museum in 2014 – after being away from Milwaukee for two decades – at which time I sat down with him for this interview.
"Thanks to Dennis, the strengthened leadership team and the Board, the Museum is financially secure and well positioned to continue our efforts to build our future home to serve the community for decades to come."
Kois added, "Moving the Museum toward understanding its future needs and path has been one of the most rewarding challenges I've undertaken in my museum career. I'm certain the Museum has a bright future ahead."
Censky will step in immediately upon Kois’ departure.
"I am humbled by the opportunity to take on the leadership of the Milwaukee Public Museum," said Censky. "I am looking forward to working with our talented staff to build on the work that has been accomplished over the last several years."
"The Milwaukee Public Museum is in the strongest position it has been in decades and we are confident that the institution is bigger and more important than any one individual," said Nation in the statement.
"The Board has full confidence in Dr. Censky, the full leadership team and the staff at the museum, and we are confident that we will not lose any momentum in our efforts to build a new home for the Milwaukee Public Museum."
The museum recently released conceptual renderings of how a new museum building could look.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.