Above & Beyond Children’s Museum
Hometown: Lake Geneva
Education: BA, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; MA, UW-Milwaukee
Previous position: Executive director of Sheboygan Theatre Company
What drew you to this new role?
“For years I admired all that the Above & Beyond Children’s Museum (located in downtown Sheboygan) was doing from afar and it felt serendipitous that this job, one that combines so many of my passions, became available right as I became a new mother. Having a young child provides an even greater appreciation for and understanding of the museum’s purpose.”
Proudest professional accomplishment?
“I am still very early into my director career but would have to say my proudest accomplishment to date is raising $130,000 to reopen the doors of our museum after the (COVID-19) pandemic’s impact put the museum in jeopardy. This feat that would not have been possible without my incredible staff and board members’ assistance and support. It’s difficult to wrap one’s mind around just how expensive it is to run a children’s museum, but necessary costs of PPE supplies and equipment are worth every penny to once again be a safe space for our children and families to learn, play and grow.”
How have you navigated those challenges?
“It helped to understand, from the very beginning when the pandemic reached the United States, that no one has the answers right now and are navigating as best they can. I believe one of the best things I did from the onset was reach out to our local organizations, my fellow directors in children’s museums and cultural institutions throughout Wisconsin and the United States. … When it became clear I would be walking into a dark museum — no staff to greet me and no children gleefully engaging with the exhibits — I knew my entire mindset had to shift. It became about getting our ABCM family back, and doing so by becoming exceedingly creative and flexible in our approach. I’ll always say that within the nonprofit sector, it takes a village.”