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Brooklyn Children’s Museum appoints Wilchfort as president, CEO

December 18, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn native Stephanie Hill Wilchfort has been named the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s next president and CEO.  Photo by Kelly Guenther
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The Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) — the world’s first children’s museum — on Thursday named Brooklyn native Stephanie Hill Wilchfort as its next president and CEO.

 Wilchfort brings a wealth of experience in museum and nonprofit management to the beloved Crown Heights institution, which opened its doors in 1899 and serves more than 250,000 visitors each year. Wilchfort grew up in Brooklyn and comes to BCM from the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where she served as vice president of Development. 

 Wilchfort arrives as BCM prepares to unveil a new rooftop pavilion in the spring. The pavilion, designed by Toshiko Mori Architect, will provide shading and weather protection for outdoor performances, programs and events, and be accompanied by a children’s play and programming space designed by Brooklyn landscape design firm Future Green Studio. With the additional program space, BCM plans to expand its audience by 10 percent in the coming year.

“Stephanie’s experience as both a museum expert and fundraiser makes her a great fit,” said Adam Freed and Sean O’Neal, in a jointly issued statement as co-chairs of the Board of Trustees. “The Board of Trustees looks forward to working with Stephanie as we continue to grow BCM by offering new learning experiences, an expanded rooftop pavilion for events and a new satellite in DUMBO.” 

“This really is a dream job,” Wilchfort said. “As part of an incredibly dynamic and vibrant community, BCM is always evolving. The museum is constantly finding new ways to excite the imaginations of our kids — both in the neighborhood and beyond. So much is in store for the museum over the next few years.”

In spring 2015, BCM will host the exhibition “From Here to There,” featuring the science of travel by land, air, and sea. “Heart & Seoul,” scheduled for fall 2015, will examine childhood in South Korea.  BCMStudio, an annex in DUMBO featuring an active visual arts studio, will open in 2016 in partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Park and Alloy Development.

At the Tenement Museum, Wilchfort oversaw fundraising, board development, government affairs and the museum’s $20 million capital campaign. During her tenure, individual giving at the Tenement Museum nearly doubled, the museum held its first $1 million Gala, and more than $11 million was raised towards its capital campaign.

Previously, Wilchfort worked at Sesame Workshop, where she oversaw projects, revenue development and marketing activities in the United States, Israel and Latin America. She has also worked in development at New York Public Radio/WNYC, New York Public Media/WNET, CARE USA and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

 Wilchfort replaces Mindy Duitz, who returned to the museum in 2013 to provide strong leadership as interim president and CEO, having previously lead the museum during a seminal period from 1984 to 1994.

Wilchfort, who will begin the job early next year, holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, and an MPA in economic policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia. She received her B.A. from SUNY Binghamton.

 


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