The combination of her well rounded academic background, professional
experience, and worldly perspective, makes Mia Hanak a leader and
pioneer in the art world, working in the museum industry for over
fifteen years. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1996 with degrees
in Art History and in Cultural Anthropology and from Tufts University in
Medford, Mass. in 2001 with a degree in Museum Studies specializing in
Museum Management and Exhibition Design.
Mia sparked her interest in museums, natural history, and
environmental art through exhibitions and events she planned and
executed while working at the UCSB Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum
of Natural History, the Revolving Museum in Boston, and while planning
world-class exhibitions at art galleries for high caliber wildlife
artists such as Robert Bateman and Carl Brenders.
It was when Hanak had started to travel the world that she fell in
love with the variety and wonder of the natural world. She has visited
over forty countries and more museums that one could hope to see in a
lifetime developing a deep knowledge of cultures, art and the
environment. She used her travel, her experience and her passion to
cultivate the idea that is now, the Natural World Museum, which she
co-founded in 2001 with benefactor Richard Smith.
In October 2004, the Natural World Museum (NWM) planned its first
major exhibit, centered on the theme of five elements: space, earth,
water, fire and air. In June 2005, NWM produced the first of many UN
World Enviornment Day exhibits. Ms. Hanak utlized this opportunity to
build a lasting a relationship with the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP), and established NWM as the global partner for the arts
Transcending the traditional museum venue, the Natural World Museum
is a mobile and global cultural institution that presents art through
innovative programs to inspire and engage the public in environmental
awareness and action. NWM has already produced exhibits in partnership
with UNEP in Algiers, Brussels, Oslo, Monaco, Wellington, Nairobi,
Chicago, New York and San Francisco.
For her work as the Founding Executive Director of the Natural World
Museum, she has been nominated as the “Iconic Museum Leader of the Next
Generation” by the American Association of Museums. NWM’s exhibitions
feature artists from all over the world, who create work that inspire
and engage the public in environmental awareness and action.