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Duluth Children’s Museum president to step down

Michael Garcia says he’s been playing at the Duluth Children’s Museum for 30 years, leading it as president and CEO for the past 10 years. Now, he’s making the grown-up decision to retire.

“Michael’s leadership will be missed after so many years of involvement,” museum board Chairman John Erickson said. “His passion for sparking children’s curiosity and encouraging young people to imagine and explore and create has never wavered.”

Garcia helped restore the museum to financial stability, and oversaw the move to Lincoln Park. Membership grew under his stewardship, as well.

He started as a volunteer, then a board member. He was adept at securing funding, getting more than $300,000 from the federal government, and securing $1.5 million in donations during a capital campaign.

“The next steps deserve and need new leadership,” Garcia said. “I feel privileged and honored to have served in this role, and am very proud of the staff, board leadership and community support the museum has garnered through the quality of the programming it has been able to develop.”

In 2004, Garcia was charged with changing the museum’s format by bringing in touring exhibits and creating a more sensory-engaged experience for visitors.

He succeeded, but also sees the museum as always evolving.

“The job is far from done,” he said, “however the position is ripe for success.”

The museum has started a search for his replacement. Garcia will step down in December, at which time the new person will take over.