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Katherine Milton Hired as Director of Learning and Innovation

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, DECEMBER 17, 2010 As society becomes increasingly infused with digital technology, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) is harnessing new platforms for its audiences. The MIA has hired Katherine Milton, Ph.D., to spearhead new methods for aiding visitors’ understanding of visual art, encouraging interdisciplinary thinking, and helping connect to cultures of the past and present. Milton will lead the design and implementation of interpretive strategies for publications, exhibitions, permanent-collection galleries, and virtual communications. She will also oversee the museum’s educational programs for schools, families, youth, and adult audiences.

“As technology creates new opportunities and modes of thinking, we see many new possibilities for programming at the MIA, which tap into people’s desire to become highly creative thinkers and problem solvers,” said Kaywin Feldman, Director and President of the MIA. “What better place to encourage imaginative thought than an art museum, a repository of astonishing works of art created by some of the world’s most talented and creative problem solvers?”

“The possibilities for experimentation and innovation at the MIA are infinite,” said Milton, Director of Learning and Innovation at the MIA. “I’m inspired by both the museum’s collection and the exceptionally gifted colleagues with whom I will work. I look forward to collaborating on crafting learning projects and programs, both traditional and digital, which will extend the impact of our collection across not only the curriculum, but across constituencies around the world.”

Milton received her Ph.D. in Education from Arizona State University, with a focus in educational media and computers, and her B.A. from DePaul University. For the past six years, Milton served as the founding director of the Aesthetic Technologies Lab (The @ Lab) at Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts. There she built and led a cross-disciplinary multi-use facility where artists, professors, students, and the community produced collaborative projects, often using emerging technologies, for fine arts practice and pedagogy. The Director of Learning and Innovation position replaces the MIA’s traditional Director of Education post, which was held for the past 30 years by Kate Johnson. Following Johnson’s retirement, the museum underwent an internal planning process to re-imagine its educational programming.

Also demonstrating strength in arts innovation overseas, Milton has worked as a consultant and workshop leader for the British Council, Morocco, and the European Commission for the Arts. Since 1999, she has served as an associate researcher/instructor at the SMARTlab Centre at the University of East London.

The MIA is already a leader in the use of digital technology. In 2009, it was the first museum in the nation to introduce an exhibition-specific app for the iPhone. The app was built by the IT staff to accompany the exhibition “iAfrica,” providing deep information about the works on view and allowing visitors to give direct feedback about their experiences. The MIA has also partnered with the Walker Art Center to create ArtsConnectEd, a web database of more than 100,000 resources—including works of art, texts, audio, video, and interactive activities—for K–12 educators and their students, higher-education scholars, and an international public. The MIA website also produces online exhibitions, sharing curated images and video from its permanent collection.

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