Dan Finley will serve as Waukesha County Museum's interim leader

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Former Milwaukee Public Museum CEO Dan Finley sits inside the museum with his wife Jenifer. He served as the chief operating officer from 2005 to 2010.
Published on: 10/10/2013

Following the departure of President and Chief Operating Officer Kirsten Lee Villegas, the Waukesha County Museum is turning to a familiar face to temporarily lead its organization.

Dan Finley, a former Waukesha County executive, has been named interim president and chief operating officer of the Waukesha County Museum.

Finley returns to Waukesha after leading the Autry National Center, a museum about the American West, in Los Angeles from 2010-12. He resigned in the summer of 2012 and had been retired for the last 16 months. 

Before that, Finley was the president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukee Public Museum for five years after serving as Waukesha County executive from 1991 to 2005.

Finley will lead the organization for approximately two months, as the museum board conducts a search for a long-term executive leader. His first day is Tuesday, Oct. 15.

"Dan's countless contributions to Waukesha County over the years, coupled with his proven strategic leadership skills and deep knowledge of our community, make him the ideal choice for us at this time in our history," said Tom Constable, chair of the Waukesha County Museum's board of directors. "We are beyond thrilled that Dan will be joining our team."

Finley is looking forward to joining the museum's team.

"It is an honor to work with the Waukesha County Museum during this time of both challenges and promise," Finley said. "I welcome the chance to be a part of their team, and contribute to an exciting vision to make the museum a must-stop destination for the region."

Finley's priorities will be fundraising efforts to help offset an anticipated reduction in county funding for the museum.

Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas proposed giving the museum $150,000 in his 2014 budget, half of what it received in 2013.

Villegas recently left the museum after five years at the helm to become the state executive officer of the Wisconsin Builders Association in Madison.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include Finley's time leading the Autry National Center in Los Angeles for two years before stepping down in 2012.