Magleby received his Bachelor of Arts in Art History from BYU in 1989. He later received a master's and doctorate degree from Ohio State University in 1992 and 2009, respectively. Before working at BYU, Magleby was an art history faculty member at both Ohio State University and Denison University.
Magleby has taught courses in twentieth-century and contemporary art and architecture, as well as, eighteen-century European art, architecture, and garden history. His research interests include exoticism – chinoiserie and turquerie styles – in Georgian Britain and English country estates. He also has interests in portraiture of the same era and the arts and cultural practices attending the English tradition of a grand tour to Italy.
Magleby’s scholarship has focused on the influential gardens of Stourhead in the United Kingdom and the creation of a database of English garden history. He co-authored with Leslie Norris the book, Kershisnik: Painting from Life. Magleby’s prior work with the museum includes co-curating the exhibition Allegories of Empire and assisting with exhibition-related symposia involving internationally recognized scholars. Magleby has also collaborated with students and BYU library personnel to create a searchable database of gardeners, masons, carpenters, and other craftspeople involved in eighteenth-century garden making. He has mentored art history students in England and supervised three study abroad programs.
At the Museum of Art, Magleby has directed many influential and important exhibitions. These exhibitions include, "Work to Do", a politically charged exhibit on female stereotypes in Utah, and Sacred Gifts, a Carl Bloch exhibit featuring paintings on loan from the Frederiksberg Castle Museum in Denmark. The Carl Bloch exhibit in fall of 2013, was unique in that the paintings on loan from Denmark have never been loaned out before and are unlikely to be loaned out again. Those paintings, combined with BYU's own Carl Bloch collection, formed one of the largest Carl Bloch displays in recent history.
On May 6, 2014, Magleby was invited to deliver a University Forum address. In the speech, he expressed the significant meaning of paintings within the exhibit, especially pertaining to Christians.
- BYU News - Sacred Gifts 'Incredibly Meaningful' to Christians (7 May 2014)
- Sacred Gifts - Symposium (21 Mar 2014)
- The Deseret News - Major BYU exhibit may give Christendom a new favorite painting (15 November 2013)
- The Deseret News - Sacred Gifts paintings to bring history stories to Provo (27 September 2013)
- The Deseret News - BYU to hold art exhibit featuring the works of Bloch, Hoffman, Schwartz (8 July 2013)
- The Universe - Learning from the Visual Arts, pg 19 (15 Jan 2013)
- The Salt Lake Tribune - Promoting contemporary art at BYU (13 April 2012)
- BYU News - New director named for BYU Museum of Art (26 Oct 2011)