Angie Dodson, director of learning and engagement and co-chair of special exhibitions at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
, has been appointed director of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) in Montgomery, Alabama. On the staff for nearly 20 years, she will depart Hillwood on August 31.
Dodson, who joined Hillwood in 1999 as the associate head of interpretation, was instrumental in Hillwoods growth and progress over the last two decades, especially as the museum underwent a major transformation. In September 2000, Hillwood reopened to the public after a three-year closure for major renovations. The museum was upgraded to modern standards, featuring state-of-the-art lighting, HVAC and security systems, renewed plantings and restored sculptures throughout the gardens, and a new visitor center. In addition to establishing new interpretive platforms, specifically the creation of new audio and printed guides, to coincide with the reopening, Dodson oversaw the development of programs that brought the educational experience for visitors in line with the updated facilities. The programs, which include a sophisticated docent training course, continue to evolve today to delight guests and enrich the visitor experience.
Since its reopening, Dodson has shepherded countless programs to build and diversify audiences at Hillwood. Highlights include programs in partnership with DCs LGBTQ community, including the revolutionary for its time Gay Day and the outdoor film series, Divas Outdoors, first presented at Hillwood in partnership with One in Ten. Other programs developed under Dodsons tenure provide meaningful enrichment and engagement for families, including the annual Family Picnic in partnership with Rainbow Families and an annual event held in partnership with the Friends of Russian and Ukrainian Adoption.
In addition to overseeing the management of Hillwoods popular museum shop and transforming the food service at Hillwood earlier this year, Dodson also worked with the curatorial team to help develop and present a dynamic schedule of special exhibitions. As director of learning and engagement, Dodson oversaw many aspects of the visitor experience. She was curator of the special exhibitions Friends and Fashion: An American Diplomat in 1820s Russia in 2017 and The Artistic Table in 2018.
It is no secret that some of the most talented people in the museum world can be found right here at Hillwood, said executive director, Kate Markert. So I was not surprised to learn that Montgomerys search for an executive director led them to the extraordinary talent of Angie Dodson. Her accomplishments over the past 19 years serve not only as a testament to her commitment to the visitor experience but also to our founder Marjorie Merriweather Posts legacy of gracious hospitality. She epitomizes the power of collaboration and creativity, she concluded.
Dodsons move is somewhat of a homecoming, having started her museum career in Montgomery. From 1991 to 1994, Dodson served as the assistant curator of education for adult programs at MMFA. Reporting to the MMFA Museum Board and to the City of Montgomery's Director of Public Information and External Affairs, Dodson will manage the MMFA and orchestrate all activities related to collections, exhibitions, programs, education, special events, and fundraising. Major priorities include diversifying and increasing attendance, enhancing the visitor experience, developing engaging public and educational programs, enhancing the collections through donated or purchased works, and strengthening the museum financially and operationally. Dodson will help shape the MMFA for a new era where all citizens of Greater Montgomery are engaged in the museum's work and future with the objective of building a healthier, inclusive, and vibrant Montgomery.
I have been very fortunate to always land in such meaningful work places. Montgomery was my first museum home, and my first love. Its there that I learned the power of collaborative work. I also learned about intellectual play and creativityexperiences that have served me well throughout my career, said Dodson. At Hillwood I was able to grow and mature. I leave with both awareness and gratitude for the opportunities Hillwood has provided. The learning, the growth, and the collaboration have all deepened our work with one another and our connection to our visitors. And still, it is bittersweet. I head South with a tremendous sense of agency and anticipation for all that is to come back home in Montgomery all the while carrying with me my time at Hillwood.