headshot of Darren Milligan
Under Secretary for Education

Darren Milligan

Acting Director, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Darren Milligan is the acting director of the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, where he oversees Institution-wide pre-K–12 digital strategy. The center researches and develops tools and services for making online cultural and scientific heritage resources accessible and useful to educators and learners. His team’s work has included the production of publications; interactive experiences such as online games, alternate reality games and simulations; education events; educational websites and online conferences; and the development of strategic national and international partnerships. His office produces the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a web-based platform designed for educators, students and lifelong learners to discover, create and share ideas and knowledge drawn from millions of Smithsonian resources and tools for customizing “collections” that incorporate instructional strategies for use with students.

Previously, Milligan was the senior digital strategist for the Center for Learning and Digital Access and the director of the Smithsonian Learning Lab. The Learning Lab supports millions of educators and students as they discover and integrate the vast resources of the Institution into their teaching and learning. The lab received the 2019 Webby Award for Best Education Website by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, was among the 2018 Common Sense Education Best Museum Apps and Websites for Students and won the 2017 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Media & Technology Education and Outreach Gold MUSE Award.

Milligan teaches museums and digital media in the graduate program in the Department of Art and Art History at Georgetown University and writes and speaks regularly on topics related to museum outreach and education. 

Milligan earned his bachelor’s degrees in biology (ethology and evolution) and Spanish (Latin American popular cultures) from Allegheny College and his master’s degree in digital heritage from the University of Leicester. His nonprofit board and volunteer service include secretary of the board of directors for MCN (Museum Computer Network) and as a voting member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

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SI-201-2021