The Museum of Discovery’s board of trustees announced it has selected Kelley Bass to be the Museum’s next chief executive officer, assuming the role held by Nan Selz, who will retire at the end of this year after almost nine years as the Museum’s executive director.

Since February 2008, Bass has served as assistant dean for external affairs in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He has been a member of the Museum’s board of trustees for almost three years and currently serves as board secretary.

“At UALR, Kelley has successfully advocated for and raised money to support science, technology and math education, which also is at the heart of the Museum of Discovery’s mission,” said J. Bruce Cross, Museum board chairman. “Nan Selz and the team at the Museum have built a very solid foundation of success, and we are confident Kelley has the vision as well as the leadership and relationship skills to ensure the Museum’s momentum continues to accelerate.”

During Selz’s tenure, the Museum was transformed from a collecting museum to an interactive science center.

Today, the Museum is a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education hub for the state of Arkansas, boasting more than 80 new exhibits; three new galleries devoted to physical science, earth science and health science with all new interactive exhibits; and a mobile science museum, The Race for Planet X, which has served school children in every county in Arkansas.

Since reopening in mid-January 2012, the museum had welcomed more than 140,000 visitors by Oct. 31, 2012, almost double the year-to-date visitors in 2010.

Before coming to UALR, Bass spent nine years at Acxiom in senior communications roles and previously spent 18 years as a newspaper columnist, reporter and editor, including stints at the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Times.

“The Museum of Discovery plays a critical role in igniting a passion for science, technology and math in thousands of Arkansans,” Bass said. “I will continue to spread that message and to stress the museum’s importance – not only for the people who visit and experience our amazing exhibits but for the state’s future and the creation of a pipeline of interested, capable students who pursue science, technology, engineering and math degrees in college and go on to fruitful careers at Arkansas companies.”

Additionally, Diane LaFollette will remain as chief operating officer at the Museum, where she has also served as director of programming and director of the Arkansas Discovery Network before becoming COO.

“We believe that with Kelley and Diane, we have an excellent management team that can help this Museum achieve its mission of creating an interactive and innovative environment and be the ‘go-to’ place for STEM education and leadership,” Cross said.

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