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Madison Children’s Museum Announces New Executive Director

After a thorough national search involving over two dozen candidates, Madison Children’s Museum Board of Directors Chair Diane Ballweg announced the hiring of Deborah Gilpin as its new director. Gilpin left her position as the President and CEO of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, a post she held for nine years, to accept the Madison position.

“Deb brings the whole package,” said Peggy Pyle, Chair of the Board’s Search Committee. “She has a tremendous breadth of experience to bring to our community. Deb has been a Museum executive for over 30 years, in Boston and Phoenix. She helped create and launch the children’s museum in Phoenix, America’s sixth largest city. Parents Magazine named it one of America’s top ten children’s museums, an honor also held by the Madison Children’s Museum. She served on the Phoenix Mayor’s Creative Sector Task Force. And, she has come to know several of our staff members in her role as a board member of the Association of Children’s Museums. We’re thrilled to have landed such an experienced leader.”

Gilpin also brings a great deal of knowledge about Madison Children’s Museum and the Madison area to her new position. She was born and raised in McFarland and graduated from UW-Madison. Her sister worked as a staff member of the museum, and her nieces and sisters are regulars at the current museum. She’ll be moving to Madison with her teenage son.

“I look forward to articulating the unique value and vital importance of the museum to different audiences and to building even greater community support and commitment for its mission,” says Gilpin. “The educational, family, environmental, and exhibit design philosophies of MCM resonate strongly with me. They represent what I believe are best practices for strengthening children.”

Ruth Shelly, longtime director of Madison Children’s Museum, accepted the executive director position at the Portland Children’s Museum in May, to be closer to her family on the west coast.

Madison Children’s Museum: Founded in 1980, Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) is an award-winning organization whose hands-on exhibits and programs celebrate and encourage children’s imaginations and the power of play as the cornerstone of learning. MCM is a proud recipient of the 2011 National Medal for Museum Service form the Institute of Museum and Library Services. To learn more about MCM, including a fact sheet and detailed exhibit descriptions, please visit our Newsroom page. To download photos for media use, please visit our Flickr page.

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