The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is tapping into the strength of long-time staff members to lead the organization’s next phase of growth and development.
The Museum’s board of directors has announced the appointment of Jane Bard to the role of Museum President, and Paula Rais to the newly created position of Museum Vice President of Development and Community Engagement. Together, Bard and Rais will be managing Museum operations and the implementation of a recently completed strategic plan for the organization.
“This is the Children’s Museum’s thirtieth year of operation and we could not be more pleased to have this new leadership team in place,” stated Eric Gregg, President of the Museum’s board of directors. “Five years after moving to Dover, the Museum is thriving with great new programs, excellent community connections and more than 90,000 visitors a year. We have chosen two passionate and experienced professionals to continue expanding and deepening our impact with families, schools and under-served populations. Jane and Paula have our full confidence and we look forward to working with them to achieve the Museum’s goals.”
Jane Bard, who holds a master’s degree in education, has been with the museum for 19 years, and served as the Museum’s Associate Director for several years and Director of Education for more than 10 years. Bard has developed and directed the organization’s education-based programming, served as co-chair of the New England Museum Association’s children’s museums professional affinity group, and presented at numerous regional and national conferences. She is currently working with the Dover Chamber’s Business and Education Committee and has served on the Dover Kids’ Cabinet, among other organizations.
“Jane has done a remarkable job as the Director of Education for the Museum,” said Gregg. “Coming off her recent planning and execution of the highly successful Dover Mini Maker Faire and her consistent leadership of a thriving education program, Jane is especially well suited to being elevated to the role of Museum President.”
With a background in education and the arts, Paula Rais joined the Children’s Museum staff 12 years ago. She created the Museum To You program in 2003, taking a miniature version of the Museum across the state and beyond to bring a children’s museum experience to under-served communities. More recently, Rais created the Museum’s Exploring Our Way Autism Partnership Program and the East Coast’s first Alzheimer’s Café, which won the Leaders in Innovation Award from the New England Museum Association. She has been a featured speaker at national conferences, has facilitated professional workshops, and is involved in museum industry leadership.
Gregg explained, “Paula’s history with the Museum, particularly her successful development of the Exploring Our Way and Alzheimer’s Café programs, and the wide range of relationships she has with the education and business communities, make her the ideal person to head up the Museum’s development efforts, in addition to retaining her role as Director of Community Engagement.”
Jane and Paula are now working together with the board and staff move forward with implementing the museum’s strategic plan, focused on creativity, learning and collaboration.