Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead, executive director of the Miller Art Museum, announced the impending retirement of Curator of Exhibits and Collections Deborah Rosenthal. Rosenthal will retire at the end of 2017; she has been with the iconic Door County art institution since 1993 where she has overseen the installation of nearly 140 exhibitions and shepherded the growth of the Miller’s permanent collection from 240 to, at present, more than 1,000 works.
Rosenthal first visited the Miller Art Museum in 1986 during a visit to Sturgeon Bay with her husband Cy, who was in town interviewing for a position with the county. “When visiting a new community I always like to visit the public library and on our visit to Sturgeon Bay, we happened upon the Miller,” she said. “It was one of the nicest museum’s I’d ever seen.”
From that first visit, and in the years that followed, grew an intense love of the institution. “It is such a special place for so many reasons and has become an extension of who I am,” she said. Rosenthal first became involved as a volunteer and later joined the staff in a two-day, part-time curatorial capacity, which has since grown following suit with organizational growth.
In 2017, Rosenthal was awarded a Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Art Educators Association for her curatorial work in bringing a free-play exhibition for children, known as the Castle of Art, to fruition. The Miller’s Castle of Art, inspired by childhood experiences, was the inspiration behind the creation of the exhibit. The Miller will debut its first dedicated children’s exhibit since the Castle of Art on Nov. 4, 2017, which, fittingly, will mark Rosenthal’s last installation.
“Deb’s contributions to the Miller Art Museum have been great,” said Gigstead. “She has been the driving voice of the acquisitions committee, leading the growth and development of the permanent collection and in doing so, has developed a vast understanding of our local art community and the artists who comprise it, both historic and contemporary. We offer our sincerest gratitude to her for years of service and contributions to our Door County icon, the Miller Art Museum.”