Michael D. Wiant is currently the Interim Director of the Illinois State Museum. He is a graduate of Illinois State University (BS Social Science Comprehensive, MS Sociology-Anthropology) and Northwestern University (MA and PhD Anthropology). Between his freshman and sophomore year, a chance meeting with Professor Edward Jelks encouraged Wiant to enroll in Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology. The class sowed the seeds of a career that now exceeds forty years.
After graduating from Illinois State University, Wiant worked for Northwestern University’s Illinois valley archaeology program for a decade before accepting a position at the Illinois State Museum in 1982. Rising through the ranks of the Anthropology Department, in 2003 Wiant became the Director of the Illinois State Museum—Dickson Mounds, a museum that chronicles American history in the Illinois River valley and the Midwest. He has shared his research in academic publications and through numerous professional and public presentations, and he has drawn on his museum experience to teach Museum Studies at Illinois State University for many years. All of the foregoing was built on a solid academic foundation provided by Illinois State University and in particular the faculty of the Department of Sociology-Anthropology.