Home Local News Longtime Louisiana Children’s Museum CEO Announces Retirement

Longtime Louisiana Children’s Museum CEO Announces Retirement

Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Children’s Museum

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.

“While Julia’s impact on the museum and the larger community has taken many forms, perhaps her biggest contribution has come through her extraordinary vision and the ability to see and make real what the Louisiana Children’s Museum could become,” said former museum board member Allison Stouse. “That unique combination of long range vision and the will over so many years to make that vision a reality is what will certainly set Julia’s tenure apart.”

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.

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