Milwaukee Art Museum
Press Release

Milwaukee Art Museum Taps Accomplished Museum Professional as Chief Development Officer

Abby Ashley joins the Museum to head up fundraising, membership.

By - May 21st, 2019 12:02 pm
Abby Ashley. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Abby Ashley. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee, Wis. – May 21, 2019 – The Milwaukee Art Museum today announced that, after an extensive nationwide search, Abby Ashley has been hired as the Chief Development Officer (CDO) for the organization.

Ashley is currently at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, as its Director of Development. During her time at the Norton, she led and completed an ambitious $110 million capital campaign, in addition to supervising all aspects of annual fundraising, managing a staff of 14, and transforming the Norton’s customer relationship management database.

“Abby is a rising star in the museum development world with a broad range of accomplishments, and we are extremely lucky to have her as a part of the Museum’s leadership team,” said Marcelle Polednik, PhD, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director. “I know that everyone both inside and outside the Museum will appreciate Abby’s innovative, collaborative approach and her energetic, warm personality.”

Ashley has almost a decade of museum fundraising experience, including serving in multiple roles in the Development Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Her extensive experience in planned giving, endowment growth and membership, as well as team building, change management and community involvement, will be utilized as the Milwaukee Art Museum undertakes its strategic planning process.

Originally from the Chicagoland area, Ashley graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and culture with additional coursework from New York University.

Her current role at the Norton Museum of Art includes oversight of fundraising, membership, special events, facility rental and visitor experience, accounting for 65 percent of the organization’s $10 million annual operating revenue.

Esther Rosenberg, of Howe-Lewis International—a firm specializing in recruiting not-for-profit executives—led the search.

Abby Ashley officially starts her role as the Chief Development Officer of the Milwaukee Art Museum on July 8, 2019.

About the Milwaukee Art Museum

Home to a rich collection of more than 30,000 works of art, the Milwaukee Art Museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its campus includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, annually showcasing three feature exhibitions, and the Eero Saarinen–designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center and David Kahler‒designed addition. In 2016, after a yearlong renovation, the Museum reopened its Collection Galleries, debuting nearly 2,500 world-class works of art within dramatically transformed galleries and a new lakefront addition. This reimagined space also allows for the presentation of additional changing exhibitions. For more information, please visit:

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