Placed Leaders

Elizabeth Siegel

Chief Curator

Milwaukee Art Museum

We partnered with the Milwaukee Art Museum on the search for a Chief Curator. A comprehensive art institution and cultural cornerstone for the Greater Milwaukee region, the Milwaukee Art Museum is an icon for the city and a resource for the entire state. Prominently situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, the Museum was founded over 125 years ago and is the largest and most significant art museum in Wisconsin.

In this role, Siegel will set the tone and substance of curatorial initiatives by working collaboratively across the Museum to creatively utilize the collection and exhibitions to engage, educate, and expand participation, with the overall objective of enlivening the institution and enhancing its reputation locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Siegel joined the Museum after 25 years at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she served most recently as currently Curator of Photography and Media.

Siegel has curated or co-curated nearly 30 exhibitions emphasizing groundbreaking scholarship, engaging presentation, and accessible content. These include André Kertész: Postcards from Paris (2021), the first exhibition dedicated to the photographer’s carte postale prints; Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage (2009), a landmark project showcasing the whimsical and surreal inventions of aristocratic women; and Taken by Design: Photographs from the Institute of Design, 1937–1971 (2002), a comprehensive study of one of the foremost schools of photography and design, and still a standard reference in the field. She has also organized exhibitions on contemporary photographers Uta BarthVera LutterRichard MisrachAbelardo Morell, and Tokihiro Sato. Her collaborative and interdisciplinary projects have surfaced new relationships among objects and art histories. Most recently, she was part of the collaborative team behind Floating Museum: A Lion for Every House (2022), an experimental commission aimed at breaking down walls between the museum and Chicago’s diverse communities.

Her scholarly contributions in both print and digital formats have helped to shape the field, having authored major catalogues to accompany exhibitions as well as academic studies that have become touchstones for scholarship. Siegel also helped to secure strategic acquisitions for the Art Institute, most recently of some 500 nineteenth-century American photographs, primarily daguerreotypes, from the W. Bruce and Delaney H. Lundberg Collection.

She is a 2018 alumna of the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

Siegel received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University. She earned her Master’s and Doctorate in the History of Art from the University of Chicago.