Exploration Place Announces New President
(WICHITA, KAN.) (Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019) – The Exploration Place Board of Directors and Sedgwick County announced that Adam E. Smith will be the science center’s new president effective Monday, Nov. 11. Smith has more than 25 years of experience in the museum field. He most recently served as Executive Director for Comic-Con Museum in San Diego, California.
“We are thrilled for Adam to lead Exploration Place into its 20th year of operation,” said Jeff Peier, Exploration Place Board Chair. “He is a true visionary and understands how to continue the museum’s momentum, keeping in mind its successful STEM-based educational programs, exhibits and events. Adam brings significant value on how to weave these programs into new areas including the ever-evolving technology realm – and how the museum will expand its workforce pipeline efforts for our community,” Peier said.
Before Comic-Con Museum, Smith served as Executive Vice President at Commemorative Air Force, the world’s largest flying museum. He led the organization’s move from Midland, Texas, to new headquarters in Dallas. The new museum location includes an Aviation Education Center and STEM innovation hangar, classrooms and exhibit space. Prior to that, Smith was senior vice president at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in Frederick, Maryland.
Smith also spent 11 years as Museum Director and Vice President with the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he elevated its STEM-based learning, career development programming, distance learning and summer camps. Smith served with other museums as well, including National Museums of Scotland, Lower Methil Heritage Trust and Pendle Heritage Centre.
“Adam’s experience in the museum world and his interest in aviation made him an exceptional candidate,” said Commission Chairman David Dennis. “Through his leadership, I look forward to seeing Exploration Place continue to inspire the next generation through STEM learning.”
Smith will be an employee of Sedgwick County through its partnership with Exploration Place. All other Exploration Place staff members will still be employed by Exploration Place.
“I am truly honored to join Exploration Place and can appreciate the great amount of work that has gone into its successful STEM education programming,” said Smith. “I plan to continue this positive trajectory, working closely with the community – our county partners, board, staff, donors, members and all our museum’s stakeholders as we head into the milestone 20th year of operation,” he said. “This is an era of tremendous technological change and Exploration Place can play an important role in helping the community, especially its young people, to be well prepared for future opportunities and growth,” Smith said.
Smith earned a postgraduate diploma in museum and gallery studies (Awarded with Distinction) from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and a bachelor of arts degree in modern history (First Class Honors) from University of Leeds, England.
Originally from England, Smith has lived in the United States since 2001, but especially cherishes the time he was last in the Midwest, living in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for 11 years. Smith said when he visited Wichita during the interview process, he had the same sense of “coming home” as when he was in Oshkosh. “I felt those hometown values and strength of community. I’m looking forward to establishing roots once more in a central location of the country,” Smith said.
Exploration Place offers visitors of all ages interactive environments, hands-on experiences, Kansas’ largest domed theater – the Digital Dome Theater and Planetarium – imaginative spaces, and outdoor recreation, all located on a 20-acre site along the scenic Arkansas River in downtown Wichita, Kansas.
About Exploration Place
Exploration Place offers visitors of all ages interactive environments, hands-on experiences, Kansas’ largest domed theater – the Digital Dome Theater and Planetarium – imaginative spaces, and outdoor recreation, all located on a 20-acre site along the scenic Arkansas River in downtown Wichita, Kansas. The museum will celebrate its 20th year of operation on April 1, 2020.
About Sedgwick County
Established in 1867 and located in south-central Kansas, Sedgwick County is home to more than 500,000 residents and occupies 1,008 square miles of land. The county holds 21 municipalities including the county seat, Wichita, the largest city in Kansas and known as the Air Capital of the World as a global leader in aviation manufacturing services. Sedgwick County’s 2019 Adopted Budget of $439,530,621 focuses on its key priorities (Safe and Secure Communities, Public Services and Cultural Experiences, Effective Government Organization, and Communications and Engagement). Sedgwick County, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2020, bears the name of a Civil War hero, Major General John Sedgwick of the Union Army.