Diane LaFollette, chief operations officer of the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock has been named as the new executive director of the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs.

She has worked in supervisory positions at the Little Rock museum since 1997, serving as director of the Arkansas Discovery Network and the museum’s director of programming.

Lafollette has a background in education and in nonprofit management. As director of the Discovery Network, she raised more than $10.3 million for the statewide network of seven museums.

“Diane LaFollette is the absolute right person to lead Mid-America Science Museum as our new executive director,” said Lance B. Garner, chairman of the MASM Board of Trustees.

“Her background in science education and museum operations was unmatched by any other candidate,” Garner said. “She has ‘on the ground’ experience in re-creating a museum, which is exactly what MASM is undertaking. We expect that she will very much be able to move us to that next level in visitor experience and programming.

The Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission in October approved a $520,000 pledge that will enable Mid-America Science Museum to obtain a $7.8 million Reynolds Foundation grant.

The money, which will be provided over a five-year period, put the museum’s capital campaign over the top on a $1.58 million matching fund that was needed to secure the grant.

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