Ziglar, a UNC Class of 1979 graduate and the current director of external affairs of the Freer|Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution, planned on going to law school until she took a class on Islamic art in the second semester of her senior year.
“(The class) launched me on a journey working for four major museums over the past 29 years,” she said.
She is assuming the role from Peter Nisbet, who served as the interim director since July 2014 and who served as chief curator since October 2009. Despite multiple requests, Nisbet could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Ziglar previously worked at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the National Gallery of Art.
At the Freer|Sackler Galleries, Ziglar spearheaded a campaign that tripled annual fundraising over five years.
Ziglar said fundraising is one of her areas of expertise, and she plans to create campaigns intended to raise awareness of the museum’s resources while bringing in funding.
“First, we’re going to be working on raising visibility, public awareness and public participation, and that will naturally bring with it an uptick in the amount of private funding that the Ackland will be able to attract,” Ziglar said.
Ziglar has also served on the Morehead-Cain fundraising board for the past three years. She helps raise money for the scholarship and has mentored students who worked in various Smithsonian museums.
Chuck Lovelace, the executive director of the Morehead-Cain Foundation, works directly with Ziglar.
“Katie is full of energy, creativity and enthusiasm,” he said. “I know she is really excited about the level of undergraduate involvement at the Ackland thus far and plans to bring those qualities with her.”
Anna Troein, campaign assistant at the Freer|Sackler Galleries, has spent nearly a year working on Ziglar’s campaigns.
“Her (current) job requires her to interact with different people from different cultures, and she’s so good at connecting all of these people with art,” Troein said.
Ziglar said she hopes her work in this new position will help the Ackland work more cohesively with the University, and vice versa.
“I am very excited about working to make the Ackland a museum that is really participating in the life of the university and the whole community,” Ziglar said.