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
“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
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.