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Ellen M. Rosenthal

Biography

Ellen M. Rosenthal, President and CEO

Ellen M. Rosenthal became President and CEO of Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, Indiana, in 2005. An accomplished executive with 30 years of experience in the museum field, Ellen has particular expertise in strategic planning, balanced score card financial analysis and market research. She created a targeted, visitor-centric strategy for Conner Prairie, transforming it in six years from a living history museum to an interactive history park that has seen an increase of 127% in attendance, 70% in membership and 334% in repeat attendance of members.

Conner Prairie’s transformation has drawn international attention, and the museum was awarded the 2010 Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House ceremony.

With a passion for inspiring curiosity and a life-long love of learning, Ellen is a noted advocate of active, intergenerational visitor engagement at museums. She was a core participant in the Museum Learning Collaborative, Pittsburgh, the first national initiative to consider the educational value of museums. Under her direction, Conner Prairie pioneered ethnographic research in family learning. This research formed an innovative approach to visitor engagement, which Conner Prairie captured on the award-winning training DVD/CD “Opening Doors to Great Guest Experiences,” now used by more than 1,200 museums worldwide that impacts an estimated 26 million guests.

Ellen has spoken widely on the impact of the new approach to learning at Conner Prairie and is the author of several articles including, “Serving Children When Parents Come Along” in New Thinking: Rules for the (R)evolution of Museums, MuseumsEtc, 2010 and “Conversations Across Time: Family Learning at a Living History Museum” in Learning Conversations: Explanation and Identity in Museums, 2002 (with Jane Hetrick). Ellen also penned the preface for Life Stages of the Museum Visitor: Building Engagement over a Lifetime, 2002.

Prior to Conner Prairie, Ellen worked at a variety of museums including the Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, and the John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from Barnard College, Columbia University, her first master’s degree in early American culture from the H.F. DuPont Winterthur Program and her second master’s degree in public management at Carnegie Mellon University.

Ellen serves as chair of the Indianapolis Consortium of Arts Administrators and the Fishers Economic and Community Development Commission and co-chair of the Indianapolis Cultural Consortium. She is a member of the board of the Institute for Learning Innovation, Annapolis, Maryland, and the editorial board of the Indiana Magazine of History. She was also appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to serve as a member of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

Ellen resides in Indianapolis and is married to Dr. Theodore Logan, a medical oncologist at the Indiana University Medical Center. They have three sons.