A native of New York State, Miller earned her A.B. degree from Princeton University and her Ph.D. from Yale in 1981 with thesis titled The Murals of Bonampak, Chiapas Mexico. In 1998, she was appointed as the Vincent Scully, Jr. Professor of the History of Art. In 2008, she was appointed as Sterling Professor at Yale.
She has served as the Chair of the History of Art, Latin American Studies, and Archaeological Studies Departments at Yale, as well as Director of Undergraduate Studies of the History of Art.
Miller served as the guest curator for "The Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya", a highly acclaimed exhibition of Maya art that took place in 2004 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. For that exhibition, she wrote the catalogue of the same title—a finalist for the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award of the College Art Association—with Simon Martin, senior epigrapher at the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania. A previous exhibition catalogue, The Blood of Kings, co-authored with Linda Schele was awarded the Barr Prize in 1986.
Other Projects and Publications
Miller has worked for many years on her archaeological project to document and reconstruct the Maya wall paintings at Bonampak, Mexico, which resulted in two standard works, namely The Murals of Bonampak (1986) and, together with Claudia Brittenham, The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court; Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak (2013). Miller is also the author of several overviews written for a general public, specifically Maya Art and Architecture, The Art of Mesoamerica, and, together with Karl Taube, The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. Her many articles address questions of Aztec and Maya art, as well as the historiography of Precolumbian art.