Early life and education
Elizabeth Broun was born in 1947 in Kansas City and grew up in Independence, Kansas. She completed her B.A. in French and art history at the University of Kansas. She later earned an M.A. in medieval art history.
Broun began her interest in museums after taking graduate seminars at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She worked for three years at Walters Art Museum. In 1976, she earned a doctorate in American art history in Kansas University.