GLENS FALLS — The World Awareness Children’s Museum has appointed Bethanie Lawrence as executive director.
Lawrence joined the museum’s education department in March 2018 and moved quickly to become deputy director and education coordinator in October 2018.
Under her guidance, the number of classroom programs tripled during the 2018-2019 school year and have reached schools further south in the Capital Region and farther north into the Adirondack Park.
New programs include Early Explorers for young toddlers, Friday Story Hours, Sensory Friendly Mornings, Mission Earth, and Unicorns, Dragons and Other Fantastic Creatures, according to a museum news release.
Lawrence said she came to the museum looking for a new opportunity. She had moved from Nashville to New York in 2018 when her then-fiancé, now husband, got a new position. Lawrence had worked as a teacher.
Lawrence said she is excited to take over the museum at this time because it is going to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
“I really love the mission of the museum, bringing our diverse world to children. I think it’s a really noble pursuit,” she said.
Lawrence said she is excited to build upon the work others have done at the museum, which was founded by Jacqueline Touba.
The museum provides children an opportunity to learn about people who are different from them, who wear different clothing or celebrate different traditions, Lawrence said.
“I think it helps dispel the fear that comes from the unknown. It definitely helps make our world a better place when people are more curious than they are afraid,” she said.
The museum has eight employees — all are part-time with the exception of Lawrence. She said they do not plan to fill the deputy director position, but an existing employee is going to become a museum administrator.
Lawrence has a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of South Carolina and is a member of both the Hudson River Chorale and the SUNY Adirondack Choir.
She said she is excited to build upon the work of those who have led the museum before her.
The museum’s previous director, June Waters, stepped down earlier this month to accept the position of executive director of the Lake Havasu City Museum of History in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Waters, who led the museum from February 2018 through November of this year, desired to be closer to family living on the West Coast, according to a news release.