Dennis Kois Named New President and CEO

MPM logo

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 10, 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Jenni Tetzlaff, Director of Marketing & Communications, 414-278-2784, Tetzlaff@mpm.edu


MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The Milwaukee Public Museum Board of Directors today announced that it
has chosen Dennis Kois, currently executive director of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in 
Boston, as MPM’s next president and CEO. Kois brings to the role a wide variety of experience and 
leadership at some of the country’s premier museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 
New York City and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 
Washington, D.C.

“We’re very excited to bring Dennis, a Whitefish Bay native, back to Milwaukee and to MPM,” said 
Jay Williams, Chair-elect of the MPM Board of Directors. “Some of his first elementary school field 
trips were to the Milwaukee Public Museum, and he has a deep understanding that MPM’s collections, 
history of scholarship and community stature are important assets. His local roots, combined with a 
leadership style and museum philosophy honed at some of the nation’s top institutions, will help 
ensure that the MPM continues to play an increasingly important role in our diverse community.”

Williams announced in August that he would be stepping aside as president of MPM but would continue 
to serve the museum as board chairman. Kois will begin his new role May 1.

“Dennis has outstanding experience, a strong record of success and a clear vision for the future 
that put him in a strong position to continue to build on MPM’s successful turnaround,” Williams 
said.  “A number of excellent candidates emerged during our search process, and
more


Dennis stood out from the start. We believe he is the best person to ensure the museum’s mission 
and strategy continue to serve our members, the greater metropolitan Milwaukee community and all 
who visit the Milwaukee Public Museum.”

Kois has been Executive Director at the prestigious deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum in Boston 
since 2008 and prior to that, was Executive Director of the Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas. He has 
also served as Assistant Chief Designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as Chief Designer and 
Head of Publications and Digital Media of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. 
Sackler Gallery, which together serve as our national museums of Asian art. He has worked with 
partner museums in Asia and Europe on exhibitions and collections and served as an adjunct 
professor of the graduate program in Museum Studies at George Washington University.

Kois is an honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in 
museum design, and has a master’s degree in museum studies from New York University. While at UWM, 
he served as an exhibition and graphic designer with the UWM Art Museum.
Additionally, he has served as a lecturer and panelist on a variety of art- and museum-related 
topics. He is married and has two young children.

“I owe the start of my career in museums to the MPM field trips of my youth,” Kois said. “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.”

# # #

About the Milwaukee Public Museum
The Milwaukee Public Museum is a natural and human history museum located in downtown Milwaukee, 
Wisconsin. The Museum was chartered in 1882 and opened to the public in 1884. MPM has three floors 
of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a 
rainforest, and a live butterfly garden, as well as the Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Dome 
Theater & Planetarium. The Museum houses more than 4.5 million objects and hosts around 700,000 
visitors each year.

The Museum is operated by Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc., a private, non-profit company, and its 
facilities and collections are held in trust and supported by Milwaukee County for the benefit
of the public.