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Milwaukee Public Museum Names Ellen Censky New President & CEO

Mark Danielson
Dr. Ellen Censky was named the Milwaukee Public Museum's President and CEO this month.

Since 1884, the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) has been giving Wisconsinites and the state’s many visitors a passport into the natural world. Many people who grew up here have memories of school field trips and sleep overs, and now bring their own kids and grandkids to experience it.

However, in recent years, the museum has been hit with some challenges. Almost a year ago, former President Dennis Kois abruptly resigned (making for four different presidents in the past decade). Plus, MPM is currently working on finding a new physical home.

Credit Andrew Feller / Milwaukee Public Museum
Milwaukee Public Museum
Ellen Censky has served in leadership roles at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

Fortunately for MPM, Dr. Ellen Censky stepped in to lead the museum on an interim basis after Kois resigned. The Cedarburg native had been the institution’s senior vice president for the past 10 years. She formally took on the role of president and CEO earlier this month — and is the first woman in the museum’s history to do so.

"I'm excited," says Censky. "[There will be] in the future, a big amount of change." She notes that even with a new building in the works, the institution's mission won't change.

"We will always be an immersive experience. That’s what we’re known for and we’ll always be using objects because objects are the heart of what we as a natural history museum do and have," says Censky.

She hopes to expand the citizen science programs potentially across the state and will continue to focus on sharing stories on how the natural world shapes us. Censky joined Lake Effect's Bonnie North to discuss what else is in store for MPM under her leadership:

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.