Montshire Profile

Marcos Stafne

May 2015

How are you connected to the Montshire?
I’m proud to say that I’m the new executive director of this fantastic organization.

Why do you choose to be involved?
I’ve always had a passion for museums—especially science museums. I’ve worked in different types of museums (art, science, history, children’s…) for my entire professional career. The experiences found at the Montshire remind me of why I first chose to work in a museum. When I see families having meaningful conversations around the Spin Table, or working together to solve a mind-bending puzzle, I remember how much fun I had visiting museums with my family growing up. The hands-on nature of our exhibits, combined with the outdoor experiences, are definitely a catalyst for creativity, and it makes me excited to be here.

When was the first time you came to the Montshire?
Believe it or not, my first visit was in early February, and I started working here April 15. Living in New York City for the past 15 years, I have experienced plenty of bad weather, but I drove here for the first time in a major snowstorm. The next day, the sun was out, the powder was fresh, and the Montshire was like a glimmering castle along the frozen Connecticut River—it made quite an impression on me.  

What is your favorite Montshire experience?
A few weekends ago I was walking around the first floor and happened across a few 12-year-old boys playing with the Trajectory exhibit. They were experimenting with how to get the ball thrown just the right way. All three of them were engaged in conversation and trying out different ideas. It was pretty amazing to watch them collaborate—a major life skill needed in the real world being practiced in the safety (and fun) of our exhibit galleries.

What do you wish everyone knew about the Museum?
Sometimes when we visit buildings, we don’t think about the science of how they operate. As I’ve been learning about everything from program initiatives to exhibit maintenance, I’m constantly surprised about how much science and engineering goes into making the building run. We have a fairly complicated physical campus including walking paths, water exhibits, bridges, and multiple ways to heat and cool the building. The staff who run our facility are skilled technicians who have to use science every day to make sure the doors open and visitors are comfortable and safe. It’s a great reminder of why STEM is important for career development.  

Is there one word you would use to describe the Museum?
Surprising.

What do you think the Montshire will be like in ten years?
In ten years, I want more people to understand the Montshire’s critically important role in our region, and for even greater numbers of people to be impacted by our work. The Montshire is about to enter its 40th year of operation. As institutions mature, they take on different roles to generate larger community impact. It’s evident that many people value the Montshire as a fun and engaging place to explore their interest in science, but I see our role growing within the community to further support science learning, career readiness in STEM fields, and greater social service—whether in the Museum or on the road in schools across Vermont and New Hampshire.

Which other museums do you enjoy visiting?
Having worked in Brooklyn for the past two years, I really got to know the Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden well. I think that each engages the community in meaningful ways, and provide excellent exhibitions and environments. I worked for the Rubin Museum of Art for four years and fell in love with Himalayan Art. It’s a phenomenal oasis in the middle of New York City, and you can always find a moment to reflect while walking through the galleries.