Longtime Louisiana Children’s Museum CEO Announces Retirement
NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana Children’s Museum Chief Executive Officer Julia Bland has announced her retirement effective June 4. The organization’s chief operating officer, Lauren Clay, will be appointed interim CEO.
“Our board of directors and the entire museum community are deeply grateful for Julia’s vision, energy and leadership over so many years,” said Colleen Levy, museum board president, in a prepared release. “During her tenure, and in concert with the board and staff, the Louisiana Children’s Museum has seen unprecedented growth, progress and stability. Julia has made a lasting mark on the museum and has helped position this flagship learning and cultural center to be an even greater contributor to the public good for many years to come.”
The board said it will conduct a national and local search for Bland’s replacement.
“My nearly 30-year involvement with the museum has given me the opportunity to be in the midst of true magic – observing young children as they think and learn and play and develop,” said Bland. “The museum has been on a very intentional journey to elevate the way our community values young children, invests in them, and then reaps rewards as we strengthen families and build a more hopeful quality of life. The numerous community partnerships that have been forged over the years, as well as the generous citizens who support our many efforts, together with passionate and talented staff have provided deep and meaningful foundational roots for our large family. My time at LCM has been filled with pride as we have made many, many joyous connections.”
Bland joined the museum in 1998 when the facility was located on Julia Street in the Warehouse District. After Hurricane Katrina, she led the facility’s relocation to its new home in City Park.
“Julia’s positive impact at the museum and in the larger community reaches far and wide,” said former museum board member Allison Stouse. “Perhaps her most profound contribution, though, has been her extraordinary vision for a beautiful, healthy and dynamic place where the potential of each child is valued, supported and made manifest every day. The Louisiana Children’s Museum in City Park is that vision realized and, thanks to Julia, it will benefit generations of children and families to come.”
The museum has more than 4,700 members and expects to host over 250,000 children and their families in 2022.
During her time with the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Bland was appointed to the National Museum and Library Services Board and to the Association of Children’s Museums Board. In 2015, the museum received the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal from First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as the Colin and Alma Powell Legacy Award for the museum’s role in creating the New Orleans Kids Partnership.