Craig Hadley

Craig Hadley currently serves as the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College, where he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations, programs, and expenditures for northwestern Michigan’s premier museum center. The museum features 20,000 square feet of permanent and rotating exhibition space, a children’s gallery, and one of the largest Inuit art collections in the United States. The center also programs a series of concerts, lectures, and performances in its 367 seat Milliken Auditorium.

Prior to the Dennos, Mr. Hadley held the position of Director and Curator with rank of Assistant Professor at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, for nearly eight years. He guided the program through first-time accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and created robust undergraduate teaching and research opportunities. He also regularly taught independent studies and capstone courses, introductory museum workshops, and reading topics in the program’s new museum studies minor.

In addition to his work at the Dennos and DePauw, Mr. Hadley has also held various curatorial, education, and collection roles at Beloit College’s Wright Museum of Art and Logan Museum of Anthropology, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Indiana State Museum, the State Historical Society of Missouri, and the Missouri History Museum. He is an active board member of the Association of Academic Museums & Galleries and serves as a grant reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also serves as an AAM accreditation site reviewer.

Mr. Hadley holds a master’s degree in History and Museum Studies from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s degree from Beloit College. He most recently completed an executive certificate in nonprofit management from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. His writing has appeared in The Museum Review, AAM’s Museum magazine, and on the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ website.

What about your museum excites you?

We have one of the best discovery galleries for visitors of all ages–lots of interactives and stem/steam related installations. It’s a great excuse to take a break and “play” once in a while: The Dennos Museum Center’s 2,000 square foot Thomas A. Rutkowski Discovery Gallery offers over a dozen “hands-on” interactives related to the arts and sciences for children and adults. From a laser harp and a sound wall to a giant lightbright board, the gallery offers something for kids of all ages. The recent re-installation of the Gallery in 2018 focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).

What’s one thing – either industry/work-related or not – you learned in the past month?

I recently learned that our black mystery snail will float if it gets air trapped in its lungs. To our relief, we found out this is normal and isn’t a sign that the snail is sick—also, goldfish will eat snails if they get bored…

What about the AAMG mission excites you?

Creating a robust support network for college museum professionals nationwide keeps me energized. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone in our efforts!

How do you decompress from tough work days?

One of our interns recently asked me this question, and I told her that the best way for me to decompress is with hobbies and other types of family activities. Our family loves to garden, hike, and go to the beach during the short but beautiful summer months in northern Michigan. I’m also passionate about general aviation, and try to find time to fly Cessna 172s a few times each month out of KTVC.

Print or audio books?

Print for sure.