A Missouri native, Marquart previously served as executive director of the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, Fla., and the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Ark. He will begin work at Hands On! on Aug. 12.
In announcing his selection, Hands On! board Chairman Doug Fabick said in a prepared statement that the board considers Marquart “the ideal candidate to help us move forward with the museum and accomplish our goals over the next several years.”
“Mr. Marquart has spent his entire career in the nonprofit sector and has a passion for the informal learning opportunities that are provided at museums such as Hands On!,” Fabick said.
Marquart began his career as the floor manager at the Discovery Center of Springfield, Mo., and worked his way up to become the director of the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs before being recruited to lead the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples.
In statements prepared for the announcement of his selection to lead Hands On!, Marquart cited the museum’s “25-year community legacy” and described Hands On! as being “ripe with future possibilities.”
“I believe that museums such as this are a community centerpiece where families can come together and discover ... as well as a place where the type of learning is truly deep and valuable enough to be a complimentary extension of the classroom for local schools,” he said.
The board began the director’s search in early February following an announcement of the pending resignation of Ginna Kennedy, who left the museum Feb. 28.
The board credited Kennedy for expanding the museum’s educational programming during her 19-month tenure as executive director and with leaving Hands On! “well positioned for continued growth.”
Founded in 1987, Hands On! marked its 25th anniversary last year. Since its opening, the museum has grown from 10,000 to 22,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space and hosted more than 1.7 million visitors.