WINCHESTER — The new executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum was the star attraction Thursday night at a special meet-and-greet organized to introduce her to the community.
Dawn Devine, former executive director of the Minnesota Children’s Museum in Rochester, Minn., started her job at the Discovery Museum in downtown Winchester on Aug. 19.
“It’s been awesome,” Devine said during Thursday’s mixer at the museum that attracted about 75 supporters. “I’ve really, really enjoyed it.”
The museum’s previous executive director, Mary Braun, resigned on April 10 to accept the position of development director for the Baltimore Yearly Meeting, the regional association of the Quaker religion.
Diane Schnoor, lead educator at the Discovery Museum, served as interim executive director until Devine’s arrival. Schnoor was then promoted to associate director.
Devine said she was thrilled with the opportunity to come to Winchester.
“I am very passionate about children’s museums,” she said. “To be able to come out here and be part of one that’s been around for so long and really embraces what children’s museums are all about, I was really excited.”
Founded in 1996, the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum at 19 W. Cork St. is Winchester’s first and only hands-on children’s museum. It has evolved from a 4,800-square-foot facility on the Loudoun Street Mall to its current home in a three-story, 14,400-square-foot building with a rooftop terrace.
Devine said she sees no reason to rest on the nonprofit’s laurels, so she is already coming up with ways to make the museum even more popular.
“We are at a time of pivotal change,” she said. “We are ready to do amazing things.”
Devine is also gearing up for 2021, when the Discovery Museum will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
“We have some really fun and exciting plans,” she said. “I won’t give away the surprises.”
To learn more about the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, visit discoverymuseum.net.