Montshire’s Executive Director Steps Down to Continue Education Work with the Wildlife Conservation Society
Marcos Stafne, the Executive Director of the Montshire Museum of Science, will step down from his current role at the end of April. He has accepted a position with the Wildlife Conservation Society as their Director of Learning Experiences, Zoos & Aquarium. In this new role, he will envision and advance learning experiences for students, children, and families, while delivering high-quality science and conservation content within the New York City parks, which include the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and the New York Aquarium.
Stafne joined the Montshire as Executive Director in April 2015, bringing with him years of museum experience, a dedication to informal learning, and a passion for science. “Marcos has been an inspirational and effective leader over the past six years,” said Scott Brown, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “I can’t say enough about his leadership. We will miss him.”
During his tenure, Stafne helped to guide the future of the Montshire, reorganize the operations, introduce new exhibits and partnerships, and recruit new staff members. He led the museum through five years of financial growth and, more recently, helped the institution weather the pandemic through unprecedented challenges, working with his team to adapt and to reimagine science programs and exhibition experiences to meet community needs.
During his time with the Montshire, Stafne spearheaded the development of the museum’s 2020 Strategic Plan, which aimed to expand the Montshire’s influence and reach through new approaches that promote the wonder of discovery and engage our communities in the joy of science. He also worked closely with experts in the field to map out a high-level master plan for the 110-acre landscape that focuses the Montshire’s outdoor experiences on discovery.
Stafne forged partnerships that resulted in new and ongoing Montshire programs, such as monthly discussions about horticulture and sustainability with the Hanover Garden Club; the annual conversation series Montshire Talks, which connects science concepts with other disciplines, such as music and philosophy; and Health Research Live!, a public-health discussion series developed in partnership with Dartmouth Hitchcock Population Health, the Upper Valley Public Health Council, and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center.
Stafne initiated the Montshire’s first international partnership with the University of New Hampshire, the Royal Thimpu College (RTC) in Bhutan, the Tarayana Foundation/Folk Heritage Museum in Bhutan, and the American Alliance of Museums in the global project Weaving Strands of Knowledge: Connecting culture and science to climate change. This collaboration engaged two culturally distinct communities, rural New England and Bhutan, in conversations and knowledge-sharing focused on urgent issues of environmental sustainability. The result was a thoughtful and impactful collection of personal narratives and folk knowledge of climate change, woven with climate science to promote conversations about global sustainability issues.
During Stafne’s leadership, the Museum developed and introduced a number of new exhibitions, including Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments, Discovering the Natural World, Solve It!, Air Works, and Wonder Woods.
“The Montshire is a true community resource that provides joyful learning experiences for all,” says Stafne. “I have been incredibly fortunate to work with such a magnificently talented group of staff and volunteers, and an exceptional board of trustees over the past six years. Now in its 45th year of service to the community, I firmly believe that the Montshire will be a powerful source of inspiration for years to come.”
The Montshire’s Board of Trustees has begun the search process for a new Executive Director. Montshire Deputy Director Jennifer Rickards will serve as the Acting Executive Director, starting May 3rd.