Victor J Danilov

December 30, 1924July 26, 2018

Dr. Victor J. Danilov was a journalist who became a university educator, science magazine editor, museum director and president, and author. He was the director and president of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry from 1972-87 when numerous improvements were made, admission was free, and the museum became one of the most popular in the nation with an attendance of nearly 4 million in 1986. Among the innovations at the museum at the time were the addition of the space center and theater, new hands-on exhibits, major traveling exhibits, children's science exhibits and programs, distinguished science lecture series, building department and classes, development department membership program, and President's council and its annual Columbian Ball. In 1974, when Danilov was at the museum, he also was appointed by Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley to be chairman of the city's newly created Chicago Council of Fine Arts. Mayor Daley died several weeks later but Danilov was reappointed by three other mayors (Michael Bilandic, Jane Byrne, and Harold Washington) to continue for eight years as head of the agency that eventually developed into the city's Arts Council. Danilov was born in Farrell, PA on December 30, 1924. When he was five years old, he was stricken with polio. He was largely able to overcome its effects with the operation at Cleveland Clinic and the care that followed, and took an early interest in the newspapers and basketball. He became an honor student who started a junior high newspaper, became an editor of the Farrell High School newspaper, and played on the school basketball team that went to state finals and was named to the state All-Star team. He also work part time as a reporter for the Sharon (PA) Herald, the local newspaper. Danilov received a scholarship to Pennsylvania State University, where he edited the campus newspaper, played on the varsity basketball team, was a fraternity president, and was active in various student societies. He received a bachelors degree in journalism in 1945 in the two-year accelerated academic program during the world war years. He then enrolled in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and earned a masters degree in journalism in 1946. Danilov initially worked as a desk editor at the Youngstown Ohio Vindicator and reporter at the Pittsburgh Sun- Telegraph and Chicago Daily News. In 1950, he became a journalism instructor at the University of Colorado and then assistant professor of journalism at the University of Kansas the following year. It was during this time period that he wrote "Public Affairs Reporting," the first of the 28 books he authored over the years. In 1953, Danilov became a director of public relations at Illinois Institute of Technology Armour Research Foundation (now IIT Research Institute). He then left Chicago in 1957 to become director of the university relations and publications at the University of Colorado. This led to his appointment in 1962 as executive editor and vice president of the Industrial Research Inc., which published such science magazines as Industrial Research, Oceanology International, and Electro-Technology. He later became director of the company's annual "IR100" competition that honored the best science and industrial development every year. In 1964, Danilov also received his doctorate in education from the University of Colorado. In 1971, Danilov became vice president of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. He was made director of the Museum in 1972 and then president and director in 1978. He retired in 1987 at the same time as his wife, Toni Dewey, who retired as the first woman officer of Motorola and the director of public relations and advertising. They moved to the Colorado foothills near Boulder. Danilov established and directed a summer Museum Management program for the museum director's and department heads at the University of Colorado, which he ran for 17 years. Dewey attempted to start a museum about Western women, but did not receive sufficient support. They then returned to the Chicago area in 2004, settling in Evanston, where Dewey died in 2014. Danilov continued to write books after returning to the Chicago area. 16 of his 28 books are about the history, collections, exhibits, and programs of the museums. They range from ethnic, corporate, and university museums to historic, science, and women's museums. His last book "Famous Americans", published in 2013, was devoted to persons considered "famous," such as former presidents, military leaders, movie stars, athletes, artists, and others from 26 fields. Danilov leaves two adult children, Duane P. Danilov in Wenatchee, Wash., and Denise S. Danilov in Durango, Colo., and a step son, Thomas J. Dewey, in Wildwood, IL. Graveside services will be held 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 18, 2018 at Calvary Cemetery, 301 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL 60202.


  • Graveside Service Saturday, August 18, 2018

Victor J Danilov

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