Museum of Fine Arts

St. Petersburg, FL



Dr. John Schloder Appointed Director of St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts


Carol A. Upham, President of the MFA's Board of Trustees, has announced that Dr. John Schloder will be the new director. He will begin his duties September 24, 2001 and replaces Michael Milkovich, who is retiring after nearly twenty years at the Museum. Dr. Schloder will be only the fourth director in the Museum's thirty-six-year history.

"Dr. Schloder was chosen as Director for his academic excellence, his thirty years of museum experience, his supervision of building expansions, and his great relationship with his employees," Mrs. Upham said. "Dr. Schloder has the star quality and brilliance to build upon the distinguished reputation and diverse collection that the Museum enjoys, largely because of the hard work and artistic ability of Michael Milkovich. Dr. Schloder is a wonderful fit for our museum and community." (left: Dr. John Schloder. Photo courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts)

A national search for the new director was conducted. The search committee was chaired by Eugene Patterson, retired Editor, President, Chairman, and CEO of the St. Petersburg Times and a member of the executive committee of the Museum's Board. In addition to Mrs. Upham, Seymour Gordon, Dr. Starr C. Weihe, Neil Savage, and Cary Putrino helped select Dr. Schloder. All serve on the Board's executive committee. The full board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Schloder.

Dr. Schloder's impressive background encompasses the curatorial area and art historical research, education and programming, fund-raising, and administration. He comes at a key time in the Museum's history, as the board is planning an addition to the building and is charting the course for a new century.

A Pennsylvania native, Dr. Schloder began his career in the paintings department of the Musée du Louvre, specializing in sixteenth and seventeenth-century French art. He later worked in the antiquities department, spending eight years total at the Louvre and earning a diploma from the School of the Louvre. He earned his doctorate, with honors, under the Institute of Art and Archaeology at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. His first position in the United States was at the Cleveland Museum of Art, another of the world's great museums. Dr. Schloder worked under the legendary Dr. Sherman Lee, now retired. During his ten years at the Cleveland, Dr. Schloder eventually became the Assistant Director in charge of education and public programs. He also chaired the museum's seventy-fifth anniversary steering committee and the reinstallation committee for the Renaissance and Baroque galleries. A frequent lecturer in Cleveland, Dr. Schloder also taught graduate seminars at Case Western Reserve University, one of the country's most esteemed private research schools.

His first director's position was at the Birmingham Museum of Art, where he oversaw the construction of a new wing and sculpture garden and the total renovation and reinstallation of the museum's original galleries. He also co-curated the major exhibition The First Emperor: Treasures from Ancient China, which traveled to the Walters Art Gallery (now Museum) in Baltimore and was named one of the top twenty events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society in 1996.

As Director of the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Dr. Schloder raised substantial funds, increasing the endowment from $12-$19 million, and reinstalled the galleries in the original 1931 building. He also greatly expanded the Joslyn's audience and co-curated three major exhibitions: Dale Chihuly: Inside & Out, Searching for Ancient Egypt, and Degas and the Little Dancer. The first two broke attendance records in the seventy-five year history of the Joslyn, and the Degas show, which traveled to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, received highly favorable coverage in the international art press.

In addition, Dr. Schloder has been a consultant to institutions in the United States, including the Naples (Florida) Museum of Art, and to institutions in Europe and South America. He has published and lectured widely and won numerous awards and fellowships. While at the Cleveland Museum, he received a scholarship from The J. Paul Getty Trust to attend the respected Museum Management Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Schloder has been active in professional organizations such as the Association of Art Museum Directors and the American Association of Museums. He set out at Duquesne University to become a physician, but quickly fell under the spell of art. That experience, learning about the power of art as a young adult, has made him especially committed to community outreach and to winning new audiences for art and museums. He holds his master's from Columbia University.

"This is an exciting time to be involved with the Museum of Fine Arts," Dr. Schloder said. "The building is an architectural gem and it houses extraordinary works of art. I welcome the challenge of helping the Board and the staff expand the building and the collection to more fully meet the needs of a growing community and state. All of us at the MFA are committed to creating a museum for everyone, where all people can enjoy and learn about art and culture."

"The Museum is in good hands with John Schloder," said retiring Director Michael Milkovich. "I have known John through professional organizations and I have always admired his energy and vision. The Museum of Fine Arts is a special place and has become my second home. I will miss it deeply. I have been honored to build upon the achievements of my predecessors -- Rexford Stead and Lee Malone -- and to keep the dream of our founder, Margaret Acheson Stuart, alive. I wish John and the Board the very best as they take this next step in the Museum's history and am always available to help them in any way I can."

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 6/7/11

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