- Carnegie Mellon University, MPM with High Distinction, Public Management, 1984
- H.F. DuPont Winterthur Program, University of Delaware, MA, American Culture, 1978
- Barnard College, Columbia University, BA, magna cum laude, Art History, 1975
An accomplished museum executive, Ellen M. Rosenthal served most recently as President and CEO of Conner Prairie, a living history museum in Fishers, IN, retiring in 2016. Over the course of 12 years, she transformed the museum — reshaping the mission, programming, staff culture, marketing strategy, finances, and fundraising. What had been a traditional living-history museum became a successful, immersive and interactive learning destination deeply engaged with surrounding communities.
Under Ellen’s leadership, Conner Prairie’s dramatic increases in attendance and membership, the result of innovative programming and targeted market strategy, drew national attention; most history museums across America have seen decades long declines. Conner Prairie received the nation’s highest honor for museums, the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Medal, and became Indiana’s first Smithsonian Affiliate. From a field of 18,000 museums, the authors of the book Magnetic: The Art and Science of Engagement (2013) featured Conner Prairie as one of six case studies of museums demonstrating prolonged business success and “tangible cultural and civic value.” In 2012, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $2.3 million to Conner Prairie to develop, mount and test an exhibit blending hands-on science and history: NSF’s largest grant to a history museum to date.
Ellen has lectured frequently at museums, universities and conferences and authored chapters in museum books including, “Serving Children When Parents Come Along” (2010) and “Conversations Across Time: Family Learning at a Living History Museum” (2002 with Jane Hetrick).
Prior to Conner Prairie, Ellen held positions at American History Workshop (museum consultant firm), Boston, MA, John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, Pittsburgh, PA, Frick Art and Historical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, and the Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN.
Ellen lives in Indianapolis with her husband Dr. Theodore Logan, an oncologist at the Indiana University Medical Center. They have three adult sons.
Museum philanthropy and public perception of museums as charitable organizations
Honors & Awards
- Sagamore of the Wabash, 2015 and 2016
- Distinguished Hoosier, Office of the Governor, State of Indiana, 2006
- Tribute, House of Representatives, for “Outstanding Service to Conner Prairie,” 2015
- Leading Light, Women in High Tech,
- Excellence in Innovation, Indiana Innovation Award, 2012
- Trailblazers Award, Commitment to Creativity, University High School,
- Torchbearers Award, Indiana Commission for Women,
- Woman of Influence, Indiana Business Journal, 2008
- Indiana Landmarks Historic Sites Task Force
- Temple Heritage Center, Board of Directors
- Museum Accreditation Reviewer, American Alliance of Museums