Top Influencer: Adam Rozan ‘01 recognized for innovation in engaging museum audiences

Rozan was recently recognized as a 2023 BlooLoop Power 10 Museum Influencer for his achievements.  

Adam Rozan ‘01 did not always know he wanted to end up with a career in the museum sector. But now, with over 20 years of experience working in museums across the country, Rozan has dedicated his career to making museums dynamic and inclusive spaces for communities to gather, connect and engage with cultural experiences.

Adam Rozan ’01

In recognition of that dedication, Rozan was recently named to the 2023 BlooLoop Power 10 Museum Influencers list, a top honor for those in the field.

Rozan, who serves as director of programs and audience development at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., made the most of his four years at Elon. He took full advantage of the wide variety of classes and experiences that the college has to offer and cultivated relationships with both students and professors.

“Elon provided me with an open opportunity to learn and to explore,” said Rozan.

He graduated from Elon with a degree in studio art and although he did not have a specific career path in mind, he knew he wanted to move to Boston and leverage what he had learned in pursuing his degree to land a role in a museum. Once in Boston, he found an open position responsible for welcoming visitors to an exhibition on Ancient Egypt at Boston’s Museum of Science, and it became clear to him that he had uncovered the path he was meant to follow.

Adam Rozan ’01 speaks at an event promoting museum audience engagement.

Through the early stages of his career, Rozan greeted visitors, worked in admissions, and enhanced guest experiences.

“This experience, and others, of working on the museum floor, greeting visitors, selling admission tickets, and setting up programs, was invaluable and provided me with one of the most critical educations I could receive about museums and museum work,” he said. “My recommendation to anyone: understanding your job is knowing what it’s like on the factory floor, at the sales counter, or interacting with visitors during their visit to the museum.

His work ethic and dedication guided him to institutions such as the Worcester Art Museum, Oakland Museum of California, Harvard Art Museums and the Boston Children’s Museum, culminating in his current position at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Rozan now has a deep appreciation for the importance of museums, and what they contribute to communities. He also emphasized the role that museums serve as a third place, a space that fosters social connections and a sense of belonging beyond the realms of home and work.

Rozan is a pioneer for audience engagement in museums through his advocacy for making museums a better place to work and a better part of the communities in which they exist, both inside and outside of their walls.

Adam Rozan ’01 shares his passion for museum audience engagement with an audience.

“I believe museums exist for the public,” he said. “It is a profound responsibility to be a museum; our work can and should impact the communities we serve.”

Rozan has presented his findings across a variety of platforms, including Harvard University’s extension school’s museum studies program, where he’s lectured and taught courses in audience engagement. Additionally, he is a founding member of the International Audience Engagement network and an international advisor to the CoMuseum in Athens, Greece, and lectures on the topic across the world.

His latest project is the Museum Glossary, a resource for the museum community that can help facilitate collaboration across institutions. The glossary contains over thirty in depth explanation of museum vernacular, developed entirely by industry experts.

“It’s a shared language for our industry that is rooted in audience, and would help people work better with one another,” Rozan said. “If we can’t talk to one another and be on the same page, how can we solve these problems?”

Along with his recognition as a 2023 Blooloop Power 10 Museum Influencer,  Rozan was also highlighted on BlooLoop’s list of 50 key individuals whose innovation and creativity have been integral to developing today’s museums.

“I found my interest and I pursued it,” Rozan said of his achievements.