Announcing the 2021 ACM Board of Directors Election Results

Association of Children’s Museums Announces New Roles for 2021 Term

ARLINGTON, VA (October 5, 2021)—Today, the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) announced the results of its 2021 Board of Directors Election.

Joe Hastings, Executive Director of Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was elected President Elect for the 2021-2022 term, and will serve as Board President for the 2022-2024 term.

Said Hastings, “Children’s museums are so important—now more than ever—in terms of bringing children, families, and communities together. I’m excited, proud, and honored to have the opportunity to help ACM champion children, families, and the museums that serve them.”

New officers will join ACM President Tanya Durand of Greentrike and Past President Michael Yankovich of the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. They include Tifferney White of Discovery Place (Vice President – Governance), Joseph Cox of the Museum of Discovery and Science and Dené Mosier of Kansas Children’s Discovery Center (Vice Presidents – Initiatives), and Putter Bert of KidsQuest Children’s Museum (Secretary). Stephanie Terry of Louis J. Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville was re-elected as Treasurer.

Newly joining the Board as At-Large Members for three-year terms are Crystal Bowyer of National Children’s Museum, Atiba Edwards of Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Melissa Kaiser of DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, and Felipe Peña III of Children’s Museum of Brownsville. Joanna Haas of Kentucky Science Center, Lara Litchfield-Kimber of Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, and Carol Tang, PhD of Children’s Creativity Museum, were re-elected as At-Large Members.

Leaving the Board after years of valued service are Susan Garrard of Mississippi Children’s Museum, Jennifer Farrington of Chicago Children’s Museum, Juan Carlos Novoa of Museo Tin Marín, and Mort Sajadian, PhD, of Amazement Square.

“The ACM Board of Directors represents the children’s museum field in service of our vision of a world that honors all children,” said ACM Interim Executive Director Larry Hoffer. “We’re so proud to partner with these individuals as ACM pursues our work to champion children’s museums worldwide, and we’re tremendously grateful for their willingness to share their expertise and enthusiasm with ACM and the field at large.”

New Board President Elect:
Joe Hastings, Executive Director, Explora (Albuquerque, NM)
Joe Hastings has been the Executive Director of Explora, a hands-on learning center in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 2012. Explora is creating a cradle through career STEAM campus, adding a teen center—X Studio—and preschool—¡Brillante!—to the existing children’s museum and science center. Joe worked for thirteen years at the Exploratorium, San Francisco, in various roles including Director of the Center for Museum Partnerships. He also served as Executive Director at the Don Harrington Discovery Center in Amarillo, Texas, for five years. He is a Noyce Leadership Fellow, was a board member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers and Amarillo Habitat for Humanity, and an advisor to the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which supported children’s museum networks in Oklahoma, Nevada, and Arkansas. On the ACM Board of Directors, he previously served as Vice President – Governance.

New At-Large Board Members:
Crystal Bowyer, President and CEO, National Children’s Museum (Washington, DC)
Crystal Bowyer has been the President and CEO of the National Children’s Museum in DC since 2017. She led all aspects of redevelopment for the Congressionally-designated museum, including advocating Congress to introduce bicameral, bipartisan legislation, The National Children’s Museum Act, in order to secure the Museum’s sustainability and future. Before coming to the National Children’s Museum, she spent a decade in arts and culture in Chicago, last serving as Director, External Affairs at the Museum of Science and Industry. Previously, she worked in government in Missouri and DC. She has been a presenter at InterActivity in 2019 and 2021, focused on capital campaigns and emerging museums.

Atiba Edwards, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (NY)
Atiba Edwards has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum since 2019. In this role, he oversees building operations, finance and HR, visitor experience and earned income, and marketing. He is also the co-founder of FOKUS, a 501(c)3 organization that provides communities with access to the arts and arts education programming to maximize and facilitate community relationships. He previously served as Director of Operations for Uncommon New York City Charter Schools – Brooklyn Collegiate East and as a Fixed Income Investment Bank Research Analyst.

Melissa Kaiser, Chief Executive Officer, Discovery Children’s Museum (Las Vegas, NV)
Melissa Kaiser has been the CEO of Las Vegas’ Discovery Children’s Museum since 2018. Among her accomplishments since arriving at the museum are growing its total operating revenue by 18% between 2018 and 2021 through earned and contributed revenue sources, and establishing the museum’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council in 2020. She has a significant background in development, serving in senior leadership roles at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Felipe Peña III, Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Brownsville (TX)
Felipe Peña has been the Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Brownsville since 2012. During his tenure he developed and implemented the strategic plan that enhanced the museum’s ability to create an impact on the community, supported education through play for children, and increased awareness of the museum throughout the region, while searching for efficiencies to reducing operational cost. He has served on ACM’s Program Committee since 2017 and has been co-chair since 2019. He also serves as a member of the Texas Collective of Small Museums and Brownsville’s Coalition of Education

A complete list of the ACM Board of Directors:

ACM Board of Directors, 2021-2022
President: Tanya Durand, Executive Director, Greentrike (Tacoma, WA)
President Elect: Joe Hastings, Executive Director, Explora (Albuquerque, NM)
Past President: Michael Yankovich, President and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus (CO)
Vice President – Governance: Tifferney White, Chief Learning Officer, Discovery Place (Charlotte, NC)
Vice President – Initiatives: Joseph Cox, President/CEO, Museum of Discovery and Science (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Vice President – Initiatives: Dené Mosier, President and CEO, Kansas Children’s Discovery Center (Topeka)
Treasurer: Stephanie Terry, Executive Director, Louis J. Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville (IN)
Secretary: Putter Bert, President and CEO, KidsQuest Children’s Museum (Bellevue, WA)

At-Large Board Members
Brenda Baker, Director of Exhibits, Madison Children’s Museum (WI)
Crystal Bowyer, President and CEO, National Children’s Museum (Washington, DC)
Leslie Bushara, Deputy Director, Education and Guest Services, Children’s Museum of Manhattan (NY)
Atiba Edwards, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (NY)
Joanna Haas, Chief Creative Officer, Kentucky Science Center (Louisville)
Melissa Kaiser, Chief Executive Officer, DISCOVERY Children’s Museum (Las Vegas, NV
Lara Litchfield-Kimber, Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Michael Luria, Assistant Dean of Corporate & Community Engagement at the College of Science, University of Arizona (Tucson)
Michael McHorney, Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Eau Claire (WI)
Felipe Peña III, Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Brownsville (TX)
Carol Tang, PhD, Executive Director, Children’s Creativity Museum (San Francisco, CA)
Adam Woodworth, Executive Director, The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn (IL)

About ACM
The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide. With more than 400 members in 48 states and 20 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children’s museums through convening, sharing and dissemination. Learn more at

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