Kent State University Museum Announces New Director

The Kent State University Museum announces the appointment of Sarah J. Rogers as its new director. Ms. Rogers has been active in the arts and nonprofit arena for more than 25 years in a variety of roles, which include curating, museum management, fundraising, communications and marketing, donor relations and community engagement.

Ms. Rogers comes to Kent State University from the Columbus Museum of Art where she has served as executive deputy director since 2012. While her main charge was to oversee the museum’s communications and development departments and the management of the Museum Store, Ms. Rogers’ vast curatorial expertise was called upon to install an exhibit by artists and fashion design duo Isabel and Ruben Toledo for the Columbus Museum of Art’s new wing. Ms. Rogers also helped to complete a $90 million capital campaign for the museum during her tenure with the Columbus Museum of Art.

Prior to the Columbus Museum of Art, she was the vice president of advancement and communications at the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts and director of exhibitions at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), both in Columbus, Ohio. During the ’90s, she worked at the Wexner Center as the director of exhibitions where she helped to inaugurate the new contemporary arts center designed by Peter Eisenman through 25 curated exhibitions, including installations of such accomplished artists as Maya Lin, Ann Hamilton and Barbara Kruger. 

“Ms. Rogers brings a wealth of experience to the role, and we are confident in her ability to lead us into the next era for the museum,” said John R. Crawford-Spinelli, dean of Kent State’s College of the Arts, who oversees the administering of the museum.

Ms. Rogers has a bachelor’s degree in French from Wells College in New York and a master’s in art history from Northwestern University in Illinois.

“Today, the role of universities and museums has never been more necessary to cultivate the creativity, critical thinking, innovation and empathy that is necessary to build a responsive world,” Ms. Rogers said. “Kent State’s commitment to fostering engaged citizens is the perfect environment for Kent State University Museum to blossom into an open and relevant hub for learning and conversations across the entire community. I am honored to join the Kent State community in this role and look forward to welcoming everyone to participate in your museum.” 

Ms. Rogers succeeds Jean Druesedow, who retired after serving as the museum’s director for the past 25 years.

About the Kent State University Museum
Opened to the public in October 1985, the Kent State University Museum was founded with an initial contribution from New York dress manufacturers Jerry Silverman and Shannon Rodgers. The museum holds one of the most comprehensive collections of historic and contemporary fashions, as well as costumes representing many of the world’s cultures. An extensive collection of American glass, fine furniture, textiles, paintings and other decorative arts combine to give context to the study of design.

The museum serves both the university and the community through exhibitions, public programs and research appointments in the collections.

The Silverman and Rodgers gift included 4,000 costumes and accessories, nearly 1,000 pieces of decorative art and a 5,000-volume reference library. In the 1960s, Shannon Rodgers began collecting what is now considered one of the finest period costume collections in the United States, today totaling more than 40,000 pieces. The Tarter/Miller collection of some 10,000 pieces of glass formed the second major gift to the museum. Together with the other decorative arts collected by Rodgers and Silverman, the museum holds one of the most comprehensive teaching collections of fashionable design from the 18th century to the present. 

For more information about the Kent State University Museum, visit

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Media Note: 
A welcome reception for Sarah Rogers, the new director of the Kent State University Museum, will be held Thursday, Aug. 2, from 5-7 pm in the Rockwell Hall Atrium. Please call Effie Tsengas at 330-672-8398 to RSVP and/or to schedule an interview.

Media Contacts:
Effie Tsengas,, 330-672-8398
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595 

POSTED: Thursday, July 26, 2018 02:54 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 04:16 AM
Effie Tsengas