Following a national search, the Westchester Children’s Museum announced October 11 that its board of trustees unanimously appointed Thomas Sullivan as its new Executive Director.
Mr. Sullivan worked previously as Director of Education and Programs at DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville, Ill., where he supervised a team of 58 full- and part-time staff and oversaw a budget of $2.75 million. His most recent tenure was as Director of STEM Learning at Waterside School in Stamford, Conn., where he taught science classes for students in grades 1-5 and spearheaded a capital project to expand the existing science program by creating an interactive STEM lab. He also oversaw curriculum and programming that positioned the school to partner with the Westchester Children’s Museum to receive a $50,000 federal IMLS grant award. Mr. Sullivan has also served as adjunct professor and course designer at Erikson Institute in Chicago, where he developed and taught the Engineering in Early Childhood course as part of the STEM Certification track for graduate students in Education. Mr. Sullivan holds a Master’s in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City.
“In considering the ideal qualities for our new leader, the Search Committee, with the support of the board and staff, sought a candidate with an entrepreneurial, innovative, and collaborative spirit to build the education and exhibit programs, expand our reach and impact on the learning landscape in Westchester, and cultivate new and existing community partnerships that together will drive the Museum’s growth,” said Carolyn Carr Spencer, who chairs the Museum’s board of directors and chaired the Search Committee.
From Mr. Sullivan’s vantage point, “Children’s museums provide a safe and healthy environment for fun, play, and creativity apart from school. The Westchester Children’s Museum is poised to serve as that hub for this region and be a new kind of town square welcoming families, schools, and communities of all kinds to play and learn together. I am thrilled and honored to serve as the next Executive Director and help lead this extraordinary institution into the next era.”
He joins the Museum, which opened to the public in 2016, at a key time in its short history. Located in the historic landmark Bathhouses adjacent to Playland Amusement Park in Rye, the Museum undertook a major expansion and renovation that brought available programming space from 6,000 square feet to over 20,000 square feet, and was completed in February 2020 just before the pandemic forced the Museum to close. The Museum pivoted to virtual learning during the closure and reopened in summer of 2021 with a condensed operating schedule and reduced budget and revenue. The appointment of Mr. Sullivan as Executive Director coincides with the Museum’s return to a seven-day operating schedule that includes five days open to the public and two days exclusively for school and community field trips.