May 29, 2024 / News & Blog

ACM welcomes four new board members and new board president

Arlington, Va.—The Association of Children’s Museum (ACM), the world’s foremost professional society supporting and advocating on behalf of children’s museums, and those who work at and otherwise sustain them, is pleased to name its new and returning Board of Directors for 2024. The new members were elected as a slate by the ACM Membership and revealed during its annual conference, InterActivity 2024: Flourish!, held from May 15-17 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Newly joining the ACM Board as At-Large Members for three-year terms are:

· Stewart L. Burgess, PhD, Executive Director, The Children’s Museum of Memphis
· Kelly McKinley, CEO, Bay Area Discovery Museum
· Charlayne Murrell-Smith, VP External Relations & Corporate Development, Boston Children’s Museum
· Caroline Payson, Executive Director, Providence Children’s Museum

Joe Cox, President & CEO at Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was welcomed as Board President for the 2024–2026 term, succeeding Joe Hastings, Co-Executive Director, Explora! The Science Center and Children’s Museum of Albuquerque.

“The ACM Board of Directors represents the ACM membership as leaders in the children’s museum field,” said ACM Executive Director Arthur G. Affleck, III. “This governing body of volunteers guides and advises the association and our strategic work to elevate the children’s museum community, lift up children and families, advance the field through advocacy, policy, and research, and strengthen the organization.”

ACM’s work is guided by its strategic plan—approved by the Board and introduced in January 2023—and evaluated through the two overarching lenses of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI), and environmental resiliency and regeneration.

More about the ACM Board leadership:

New Board President:
Joe Cox has served as the President and CEO of the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since February 2018. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum connects more than 450,000 visitors to inspiring science annually. He has worked in the museum field for more than 20 years having previously served as the President of the EcoTarium Museum of Science and Nature in Worcester, Massachusetts (2012–2018) and as Founding Executive Director of the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, Florida (2004–2012) where he led a campaign to raise more than $25million to build the Museum. Joe has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from St. Mary’s University in London with a focus on environmental law and paleoquaternary biogeography and completed his Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Joe was the recipient of a

Smithsonian Fellowship in Museum Practice based at the National Zoo and National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. He completed the Getty Museum Leadership Institute at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Joe is past Chair of the Florida Association of Museums Foundation.

New At-Large Board Members:

Stewart L. Burgess, Ph.D is a developmental psychologist specializing in early learning who has spent the last two-plus decades designing and implementing child-centered curriculum, creating innovative educational spaces, and leading parent and teacher education workshops.

While completing his master’s degree in Experimental Psychology he conducted original research on the problem-solving abilities of young children and was a member of the team responsible for creating and norming the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories (MacArthur CDI), the first and foremost assessment of early language development and the largest-scale longitudinal study of infant and toddler language acquisition that has ever been undertaken. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, where he was named a UC Board of Regents Dissertation Fellow for his research on the effects of emotion on memory in young children. While at UCI, he served as a graduate student researcher in support of the prominent large-scale longitudinal study of cross-cultural achievement led by Stevenson and Chen. Dr. Burgess went on to become the Lead Researcher and Managing Editor of Brilliant Beginnings in Long Beach, California, where he co-authored Toddler Next StepsTM, a book for parents and educators which earned the National Parenting Seal of Approval and two Director’s Choice awards for outstanding quality in parenting and professional development materials (Early Childhood News).

After serving on the board of trustees for the Children’s Museum of Memphis for four years, Dr. Burgess now serves as its Executive Director where he is spearheading educational updates to exhibits and programing, working to position the museum as a meaningful educational anchor for the community, and launching educational outreach for children and families in need of educational access. These efforts include significant partnerships with large-scale non-profits with access to families from lower income neighborhoods and significant marketing in the form of newspaper columns, news interviews, and online articles promoting the importance of early learning that have been accessed by millions.

Kelly McKinley is the CEO of the Bay Area Discovery Museum, a children’s museum at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, California. She previously served as Deputy Director of the Oakland Museum of California where she oversaw collections, conservation, curatorial, interpretation, exhibition design and production, and evaluation and visitor research. Other professional roles have included Executive Director of Education and Public Programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, and senior roles at Bruce Mau Design in Toronto and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Kelly has lectured internationally on museum leadership and taught in the graduate museum studies programs at the University Toronto, Bank Street College in New York, the University of San Francisco, and the graduate curatorial studies and criticism program at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto. She has served on the board of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Museum Education Roundtable and EdCom (the AAM professional network for museum educators) and the editorial board of Curator: The Museum Journal. Her writing and work has been featured in recent publications including What is a Museum: Perspectives from National and International Museum Leaders (eds. Quinn and Peña Gutiérrez for ICOM-US); The Inclusive Museum Leader (eds. Catlin-Legutko and Taylor, 2021) and Museums Involving Communities: Authentic Connections (Kadoyama, 2018).

Charlayne Murrell-Smith is the Vice-President of External Relations & Corporate Development at Boston Children’s Museum. She joined the Museum in 1996 to oversee communications and development and is currently responsible for the corporate, civic, government, and community work to advance its mission, programs, public profile, and financial health. She also manages the Museum’s community engagement staff and initiatives befitting the children and families of Boston and beyond.

Prior to joining the Museum, Charlayne was Director of Client Services and Strategic Planning for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, where she was responsible for the coordination and delivery of programs and services to Chamber members and served as Chief Operating Officer. She has also served as Project Vice President and General Manager of the Wishnow Group, Inc., a public affairs consulting company specializing in local and national social issues campaigns; Community Affairs Director of WHDH-AM and WZOU-FM; and was a guidance counselor in the Cambridge and Newton Public Schools.

A native of Denver, Colorado, Charlayne holds degrees from Wellesley College and Northeastern University. Her current affiliations include the Boards of Directors of Boston Children’s Chorus, Friends of Martin’s Park, Inc, Meet Boston, Seaport TMA, The American City Coalition, Third Sector Holdings, and the YMCA of Greater Boston. She is also on the advisory boards of Boston Harbor Now and the Greater Boston Chamber’s Women’s Network and Hospitality and Tourism Leadership Council.

Charlayne and has been recognized for her civic involvement and leadership including a Pinnacle Award for achievement in non-profit management from the Women’s Network of the Greater Boston Chamber, EXTRAordinary Women of Boston by the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, and Leading Women by the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA.

Caroline Payson previously served as the Director of Education of the Smithsonian CooperHewitt National Design Museum for 11 years. In that role, she was responsible for conveying the importance of design and design thinking in everyday life education programs for audiences including teachers, students, professional designers, scholars and the general public. Major initiatives included the website’s Educator’s Resource Center (400 standards-based lessons in all curriculum subject areas and videos modeling best practices); Design-in-the-Classroom, the Harlem Design Center; and National Design Week. The Museum’s annual outreach and impact included 25,000 students, family events for 5,000, after school programs for 1000 students, public programs attended by 1,200 people and a school tour program for 6,000 students.

Additionally, Caroline Payson has a long history of community-based work and other programs that extend beyond museum walls including workshops across the US. Current projects include a mental health initiative that includes children of incarcerated parents and a 5G project funded by Verizon that includes AR/VR.

A complete list of the ACM Board of Directors can be found on the ACM website.