Providence Children’s Museum
Names New Executive Director
PROVIDENCE, RI – Following a national search, Providence Children’s Museum’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has named Caroline Payson as its new executive director. She will relocate to Rhode Island to assume the role in late February, and will build upon the remarkable foundation and legacy left by Janice O’Donnell, who served as the Museum’s executive director from 1985 to 2014.
Payson comes to Providence Children’s Museum following over 10 years as director of education at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Prior to joining Cooper Hewitt, Payson served as director of educational services for Maryland Public Television, and in a number of faculty and administrative positions at the New School University/Parsons School of Design, including associate dean and chair for liberal studies. She received a 2014 Smithsonian Education Award for outreach to underserved audiences and has been recognized for contributions to art education and design. Originally from Boston, she received her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and her undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College.
The search was conducted by Management Consultants for the Arts and was co-chaired by Museum Board members Jennifer Lippman and Martha Roberts.
“Caroline is a dynamic leader with a proven history of success,” said Museum Board President Matthew Littlefield. “We are confident that she will bring many new and exciting ideas and will be a strong and successful leader for the Museum.”
“I’m delighted to be joining Providence Children’s Museum at such an exciting and pivotal time in its nearly 40-year history,” said Payson. “I look forward to extending the important mission of the Museum, and to exploring innovative ways to reach and inspire more children and families in the community.”
Megan Fischer, who has been with the Children’s Museum’s since 2004 and has served as interim executive director since late 2014, has been named to the new role of associate director. “The Museum is in an incredibly strong position, thanks to the hard work of our dedicated staff and to Janice O’Donnell’s visionary leadership, and we are well positioned for a successful future with Caroline at the helm,” said Fischer.