UT Dallas School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication ATEC


Bonnie Pitman

Distinguished Scholar in Residence

Bonnie Pitman is a nationally recognized leader in the museum and arts community for her expertise and research in audience and civic engagement.

Pitman joined The University of Texas at Dallas as Distinguished Scholar in Residence and Co-Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Museums in 2012. Her work focuses on developing interdisciplinary research and program relationships between UTD and cultural, educational, and health institutions. Working with the School of Arts and Humanities and the Art and Technology program her areas of interest include the roles of museums with audience engagement, new technologies, and collaborative partnerships.

Pitman was the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art and also served as Deputy Director for 12 years. Under her leadership the Museum’s artistic excellence and engagement with the community dramatically increased. Her work focused on the development of the museum’s collections, presentations of major exhibitions, audience engagement and the expansion of the museums uses of new technologies. The DMA’s ArtsNetwork linked the museum’s collections and programs in new ways on the website, introduced Smartphone tours, and uses of social media. She led the development of the Center for Creative Connections and the Framework for Engaging with Art that increased audience participation in the museum.

Pitman has been a curator, educator, and administrator at the University of California’s Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives, Seattle Art Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Bay Area Discovery Museum. 

Pitman has received numerous awards over her career and was recognized most recently with the Award for Distinguished Service to Museums by the American Association of Museums in 2011 recognizing lifetime achievement in the museum field. She has served on the boards of museum associations including the American Association of Museums (AAM), and as Chair of the AAM Accreditation Commission.  Pitman chaired the AAM’s National Task Force on Museum Education that prepared the landmark policy report Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums. She has been a consultant to over 200 museums including art, history and science museums.

Publications include, the Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, 2012; Ignite the Power of Art: Advancing Visitor Engagement in Museums, 2010; New Forums: Art Museums & Communities.  In addition to numerous articles, she was the editor of Presence of Mind: Museums and the Spirit of Learning and Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums, a signature work that altered the perceived role of museums in society.

She is a member of the advisory board for the SMU National Center for Arts Research in the Meadows school for the Arts and Cox Business School and on the Board of the Baylor Health Care Foundation in Dallas, TX.

Pitman received a Master of Arts degree from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Sweet Briar College in Virginia.