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Dallas Museum of Art Appoints Robert Stein as Deputy Director

Robert Stein, deputy director at the Dallas Museum of Art

Robert Stein, deputy director at the Dallas Museum of Art

Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, today announced the appointment of Robert Stein as the Museum’s Deputy Director, effective April 19, 2012. Stein, who currently serves as the Deputy Director for Research, Technology, and Engagement at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, will work with Anderson and the DMA’s senior staff to lead the Museum and enhance the DMA’s impact in the Dallas community and around the world. 

Stein will oversee the Museum’s financial, educational, conservation, technological, web, and operational activities.  Stein’s appointment represents the reinstitution and expansion of the role of Deputy Director at the DMA, and he will work with Anderson on a revision of the portfolios and responsibilities of the DMA’s leadership team.

“Rob has been a long-time advocate of innovation in museums and is a pioneer in exploring strategies and techniques that cultural organizations can use to drive real and meaningful engagement with their audiences, both onsite and online,” said Anderson. “I am thrilled that he will be joining us in Dallas and know that his programmatic, strategic, and administrative strengths will help the DMA provide deeper connections to the Museum’s collections and programs.”

“The Dallas Museum of Art offers an incredible opportunity to partner with a talented museum staff and dynamic board of trustees with a vision for excellence. Building on a history of innovative public programs, groundbreaking experiences like the Center for Creative Connections, and deep online content is an amazing chance to make a real difference in Dallas and the art world at large. I believe the DMA is ideally positioned to make a dramatic leap forward as one of the nation’s most dynamic arts institutions,” said Stein.

Stein has served at the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 2006, where he first worked alongside Anderson in bringing the museum international recognition as a leader for innovation, creativity, and the use of technology.  As Deputy Director for Research, Technology, and Engagement since 2010, Stein has overseen a broad segment of the museum’s professional staff, including departments of audience engagement, conservation, libraries and archives, public programs, publishing and media, information technology, and a software development team called IMA Lab. In 2010, he was involved in a comprehensive strategic planning process for the IMA and helped guide a significant reorganization of staff.

In the museum’s education department, Stein spearheaded a renewed focus on audience engagement, instilled a systematic approach to evaluation and visitor studies, and recruited a dynamic staff focused on visitor experience. Similarly, Stein led a merging of publications, new media, and photography departments into a unified team to address the rapidly evolving role of media creation, digital publishing, and online communication. Stein also directed the growth of a robust team of technologists, media specialists, and software developers, who have been recognized nationally and internationally for their work in the museum field.

Stein led the IMA’s Conservation department and a state-of-the-art Conservation Science laboratory founded in 2009. He oversaw the initiation of several research projects, the launch of digital documentation of collection surveys, and the completion of the museum’s first long-term strategic plan for conservation.  Stein also led efforts to create the IMA’s Archives, establishing the museum’s first formal archives program in its 129-year history, and a program of digitization and online access for archival documents.

In 2009, Stein headed a team of staff at the IMA to create, a niche content portal for digital video about art and artists. Among the largest technology collaborations of museums in recent history, ArtBabble features contributions from 35 important international organizations including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Museo Nacional del Prado, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Van Gogh Museum among many others. ArtBabble stands out as the first significant effort in the cultural sector to use cloud computing technology in service of cultural history.

Throughout his career in museums, Stein has advocated for community-minded collaboration and has worked to pioneer best practices in the field and to unite the interests and common goals of multiple institutions. His work from 2006-2008 as project director of the Steve.Museum research project—now a collaboration of some 21 institutions—explored whether social tagging could enhance online collection access in museums. In 2009, he founded a mobile-software project called TAP to create open-source tools that support mobile content experiences in museums, which was awarded a 2011 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Also in 2011, Stein was awarded a grant from the Getty Foundation’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative to create a reusable model for online publishing that can transform the practice of scholarly publishing for art museums.

In 2009, Stein also founded the IMA Lab, a commercial software consulting arm inside the museum, dedicated to the creation of open-source software for the cultural sector. In addition to the fiscal benefits of the IMA Lab, the museum has also seen significant benefit from being able to use the tools created as part of those efforts given the Lab’s focus on open-source software.

Stein also worked closely with Anderson on initiatives dedicated to promoting ethics and transparency in operating practices. In 2007, he helped launch the IMA Dashboard, the first real-time online museum platform that shared strategic metrics of the organization with the public. The IMA Dashboard has remained an important means for the staff to understand the long-term performance of the museum and is considered a gold standard of museum transparency.

Prior to his tenure at the IMA, Stein worked in the high performance computing industry and academic computer science. From 2002-2006, Stein served as Assistant Director of the Visualization and Interactive Spaces Lab at Indiana University where he led research efforts combining scientific visualization and computer graphics with innovative computer interaction techniques. From 1997-2002, he also served as Senior Visualization Specialist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, where he developed high resolution displays for scientific computing and custom visualization software for virtual reality and advanced display systems.

About the Dallas Museum of Art

Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 25,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Established in 1903, the Museum welcomes more than half a million visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, and dramatic and dance presentations.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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