Below is a personal reflection on the impact her mentorship had on Phillip Kwiatkowski, retired director, Michigan Historical Museum.
I met Millie when I was a graduate student at Central Michigan University. I think she was at the CMU museum attending a MMA meeting. Attending were the Directors of the museums from around the state. I was in awe and a bit afraid of the “big shots” attending but very pleasantly surprised how they welcomed a young student in their midst, when I was introduced. Millie was gracious and told me several times that if I ever needed advice or just wanted to talk to contact her. Little did I realize then how often I’d be calling.
Sometime later, at a MMA meeting, I saw her again. To my surprise, she remembered meeting me. I was impressed. She welcomed my questions, and introduced me to her husband, Bernie. What a great couple they were.
Millie and I spent many hours discussing museum issues. Even when I left the state, I would track her down at regional or national meetings for advice. She was a wealth of information from dealing with difficult board members, curatorial issues, fund raising and community programming. When I was going through the accreditation process at the Sloan Museum I leaned on her to discuss the process.
She always had time for this young director bugging her. I will never forget that. And I’m probably one of many young museum professionals that she impacted.
Over the years, I realized how much I appreciated her willingness to share her knowledge. Information I’m sure I used every day in one way or another. She was an inspiration to me and to others.
I remember her smile, her candor and her intensity when grappling museum issues. She was a very stable voice when MMA was struggling with issues.