Bruce McMillan, after earning a Ph.D. in Anthropology, began his career at the Illinois State Museum in 1969. He advanced quickly and became director of the State Museum in 1977. He stayed in that position until 2005, guiding the institution through a major expansion. During his tenure it grew from two to six facilities, and developed a reputation for excellence in interdisciplinary research and innovation in exhibits and education. The Museum's Research and Collections Center and the Dickson Mounds Museum were examples of the excellent work being done during McMillan's tenure, as were many of the projects, studies and initiatives conducted during his many years at the helm.