Press Release National Children’s Museum Announces Departure of CEO Crystal R. Bowyer

press release

National Children’s Museum Announces Departure of CEO Crystal R. Bowyer

March 8, 2024

WASHINGTON – The National Children’s Museum, renowned for its commitment to play-based science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education, today announced that Crystal R. Bowyer, President + CEO, will step down effective March 31, 2024. Bowyer will join the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago as its Chief Strategy + External Affairs Officer. Bowyer, who previously resided in Chicago, served as MSI’s Director, External Affairs prior to joining the National Children’s Museum.

Bowyer, appointed as President + CEO of National Children’s Museum by the board of trustees in 2017, played a pivotal role in leading the institution to its historic reopening in downtown Washington, D.C., in February 2020. Under her leadership, the Museum thrived, serving nearly half a million in-person visitors from across the United States and around the world with innovative exhibits and programs and reaching millions more through digital programs and engagement.

Bowyer set a bold vision for the Museum, anchored it through the challenges of the pandemic, significantly expanded the organization’s donor base, and established revenue streams to stabilize the institution’s finances. Recognizing her significant contributions, Robert M. Volmer, chair of the board of trustees, expressed gratitude, stating, “We are grateful for Crystal’s tremendous service and wish her and her family all the best in this next chapter. She leaves the Museum in a strong position, well-situated to continue its vision to spark curiosity, ignite passion, and foster inclusivity to empower future innovation.”

To ensure a smooth transition, the board has unanimously appointed Meredith Hamme, Vice President of External Affairs, as the interim CEO. Hamme brings institutional knowledge and strategic perspective to the role and will oversee the daily operations of the institution during the transition period. The board of trustees has initiated a comprehensive search for new leadership, forming an Executive Search Committee and hiring a transition consultant to support the institution’s next steps. The search for the new CEO is expected to begin in early April.


About National Children’s Museum 

STEAM adventure awaits at National Children’s Museum, located in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. With a mission to inspire children to care about and change the world, the Museum sparks curiosity and ignites creativity for children under the age of twelve and their families. Through playful science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) based exhibits, programs, and virtual offerings, the Museum reaches millions of people each year. Learn more and plan your visit at