news release Seema Rao to Join Akron Art Museum as Senior Experience Officer
For Release: May 10, 2019
Akron, Ohio—The Akron Art Museum is thrilled to announce the appointment of Seema Rao as its new Senior Experience Officer (SXO). With nearly 20 years of museum experience, Rao brings an extensive background in interpretation, programming, and digital content development for all audiences. In her 17 years at the Cleveland Museum of Art, she led research and content development for many digital projects, including the innovative Gallery One and Studio Play. In serving as the museum’s access specialist, developing community engagement programming and creating teen programming, Rao worked assiduously to include new audiences. Her work has directly impacted millions of museum visitors.
Rao will begin her employment at the Akron Art Museum on June 10, 2019, in a newly developed position and as a member of the museum’s leadership team. As the SXO, she will lead efforts to further integrate digital technology and reimagine the art museum through the lens of the visitor experience. Rao will contribute to the museum’s commitment to- and focus on diversity, inclusion, accessibility and equity initiatives, as well as developing the museum’s public programs, communication and internal policies. According to the museum’s John S. Knight Director and CEO, Mark Masuoka, “Our vision is to create a museum that is a reflection of our diverse community and to continue to deliver an exceptional and inclusive visitor and art experience every day.”
As an active and highly respected member of the museum field, Rao has served as the keynote speaker for national conferences, such as Pennsylvania Museums Association and MuseumNext. She has published extensively, including two books: Objective Lessons: Self-Care for Museum Professionals and Change at Work: Not Just Surviving but Thriving. Rao earned a Master of Arts degree in Art History from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a Master’s degree in Information Science and User Experience Design. Rao has worked with a broad range of institutions including Rowan University, the Science Museum in Bihar, the Massillon Museum of Art, the Asia Society Texas Center, the American Alliance of Museums and the MCN, advancing digital transformation in museums. Rao also sits on the board of Ohio Museums Association, is a Trustee at Large for Museum Hue and also sits on the board of Brews and Prose.