The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today the appointment of Dr. Elizabeth (Lily) Milroy as the Zoë and Dean Pappas Curator of Education for Public Programs in the Division of Education. A specialist in American art and the history of Philadelphia, Dr. Milroy has served since 1988 as Professor of Art History and American Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Her appointment at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is effective immediately.
Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Museum, said: "We are delighted that Lily has joined our team here at the Museum. She has had a distinguished career in the fields of art and education and knows this institution well, having served early in her career as a lecturer in our Education Department and a research associate in the Department of American Art. This appointment represents a kind of homecoming for Lily, and it is a great pleasure to welcome her back to Philadelphia."
Dr. Milroy will lead a team of museum educators who plan and implement a broad range of programs and events for diverse audiences. Reporting to Marla K. Shoemaker, the Museum's Kathleen C. Sherrerd Senior Curator of Education, Dr. Milroy will play a key leadership role in the Education Department, working collaboratively with the Museum's curatorial staff and other departments across the institution on program development and on the creation of interpretive strategies that will enhance learning opportunities with regard to the collection and special exhibitions. She will also play a leadership role in cross-departmental teams working on gallery interpretation and program planning, participate in training of Museum docents, and teach in the galleries to adult audiences.
Dr. Milroy is a specialist in the art of Philadelphia painter Thomas Eakins. It was her fascination with the artist's rowing pictures that led her to examine the history of parks and open spaces in Philadelphia and the creation of the Fairmount Park system, of which she is the leading authority. Dr. Milroy is the author of the forthcoming book, The Grid and the River: Histories of Philadelphia's Green Spaces, 1682-1882.
Marla Shoemaker stated: "We are extremely pleased that Lily Milroy will be leading the Museum's public programming efforts going forward. Her long commitment to connecting people with works of art, her enthusiasm for young audiences, and her deep passion for all things Philadelphia will spark many new and exciting projects here at the Museum."
Dr. Milroy said: "I am thrilled to be returning to the Museum and to be working with the dedicated staff to celebrate the Museum and share its incomparable collection with the Philadelphia community and both national and international audiences. We have many exciting plans to build on our strong existing programs while implementing some innovative new approaches."
Dr. Milroy is an experienced administrator as well as a gifted educator. She served as Dean of Arts and Humanities at Wesleyan from 2003 until 2007, and in this capacity supervised the development and implementation of the curricula for twelve academic departments (Art and Art History, Asian Languages and Literatures, Classical Studies, College of Letters, Dance, English, Film Studies, German Studies, Music, Romance Languages, Russian, and Theatre) and three centers (Center for the Humanities, Davison Art Center, Language Resource Center). Dr. Milroy also served as chair of the American Studies department at Wesleyan, in which she worked with six members of the faculty and staff and oversaw curriculum development, budget/financial administration, facilities planning, and personnel administration. She was twice the director of the university's Art History program (1999-2001; 2009-11).
Prior to her tenure at Wesleyan, Dr. Milroy served as a curator at the Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago (1985-1988). From 1984 to 1985, she was a research associate in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She became a lecturer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Division of Education in 1980 and in 1983 served as a research associate in the Department of American Art. She was a librarian and curatorial assistant at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa from 1977 until 1979.
Dr. Milroy received her BA degree from Queens University at Kingston, Ontario, in 1975, and her MA degree from Williams College in 1979. In 1986, she received her PhD in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation topic was Thomas Eakins's Artistic Training, 1860-1870 and where she has been a lecturer since 2000 in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the School of Design.