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The Tech Museum Announces New President

Press Release Date 
Monday, 12 September, 2011
Tim Ritchie, a proven fundraiser credited with increasing museum attendance, installing new exhibits and introducing fresh community-driven education initiatives, has been tapped to lead The Tech Museum as its new president. Ritchie, who served as president and CEO of the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Ala., for seven years, assumes the presidency at The Tech Museum on October 3. “What inspires me most about The Tech Museum is its aspiration to help people experience the power of innovation and technology. Innovation and technology are practical expressions of imagination. It is a lofty goal to make these things come alive in a museum,” Ritchie said. “That is the challenge I look forward to undertaking at The Tech Museum.”

During his tenure at McWane, Ritchie was largely credited with building influential community partnerships to raise capital for new, captivating exhibits including a “Shark-Ray Touch Tank,” a new “Smart Café,” and a series of basic science exhibits called “Science Works.” Birmingham city leaders recently agreed to give McWane $400,000 to help fund an expansion project. The museum also collaborated with local schools and universities to create science education programs such as Celebrate Science Competition, a yearlong science competition for classes throughout Alabama and the GENEius Program and Lab Works, a partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham to teach molecular biology (high school) and basic sciences (middle school). The partnerships also lead to deeper relationships between the museum and the community from which two significant programs were borne: Healthy Communities Healthy Challenge, a nutrition outreach program in six Birmingham neighborhoods, and Restoration Academy, a partnership with local school (K-12) serving low-income students. Under Ritchie’s leadership museum attendance went up from 250,000 to 369,000. 

Prior to his museum successes, Ritchie worked with non-profit institutions whose missions were centered on service, particularly for the disabled or disenfranchised. He earned his masters in public administration from Harvard University in 1998. Ritchie graduated in 1987 with honors from Duke University, where he earned his Juris Doctor; he graduated cum laude with a B.A. from North Carolina’s Davidson College.

As president of The Tech Museum, Ritchie, 50, expects to elevate the museum’s role as a learning resource for adults and teachers, develop leading edge programming to inform and inspire adult visitors and continue the plan to renew or renovate museum galleries and exhibits. The selection of Ritchie as president follows a sixth-month search that attracted nearly 100 applicants from Silicon Valley and across the nation, said The Tech Museum Board Chairperson Ann Bowers. A selection committee screened ten candidates and ultimately five finalists emerged. Chief among the committee’s priorities in a new president were: leadership skills, fundraising capacity, management and non-profit experience and evidence of a strong commitment to the community, Bowers added. “The Tech Museum Board and staff eagerly await Tim’s arrival,” Bowers said. “He brings the entire package of skills – and a great sense of humor.” Ritchie, who is married, has two children, one in college the other in high school. He replaces Peter Friess who departed in March after five years at the helm.

Contact:
Roqua Montez

Director of Public Relations
+1 (408) 795-6225
rmontez@thetech.org

About The Tech Museum
The Tech Museum is a hands-on science and technology institution designed to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in experiences that educate, inform, provoke thought, and inspire action. Ensconced in the heart of Silicon Valley, the museum captures the spirit of the region through innovative content and programs such The Tech Challenge, our annual team design competition for youth, and the internationally renowned The Tech Awards, which recognizes technology to benefit humanity. Daily, The Tech Museum celebrates the present and encourages the development of pioneering ideas for a more promising future.