PACIFIC GROVE, Calif., — Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History has named Liese Murphree as its new Director of Programs, Exhibits, and Collections.
The former director of STEM Sparks, a nonprofit focused on inquiry science and engineering outreach and online learning for K-8 students, has more than 20 years experience in the classroom and in museum education.
Murphree earned a Ph.D. in Soil Science (Chemistry) from the University of California, Davis, and earned dual majors (Chemistry and Environmental Studies) from Oberlin College, Ohio.
The Monterey resident taught high school and college chemistry and was a science and STEM educator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum in Ashland, Oregon.
“I look forward to working with the talented staff at PGNHM to bring new ideas, new programs, and new audiences to the museum,” Murphree said.
Murphree’s arrival comes at a critical time for the popular downtown museum, which has remained closed to the public since March 2020 due to the pandemic.
“Liese Murphree brings not only the education, science and management background we were seeking, but also abiding passion for our mission and service to the community, said PGMNH president Tama Olver. “With Liese’s leadership our programs and exhibits will continue to inspire ‘discovery, wonder and stewardship of the natural world’ through the challenges of the pandemic and beyond.”
In March of 2020, PGMNH pivoted to virtual programming, including its innovative Museum to You series that proved to be a resourceful digital solution to help entertain and enlighten the community during the pandemic.
Education has always been the cornerstone of the museum’s mission. Before the pandemic, the museum’s free field trips were always a trusted resource for teachers who wanted their students to access additional hands-on science learning. The museum has continued to support teachers and students, providing virtual field trip opportunities for students of all ages
In addition, the museum’s STREAM Project (Scientific Training, Research, Education and Monitoring) has helped inspire the next generations of scientists and conservationists. Through hands-on museum visits, outdoor learnings, and community science projects, the museum’s education programming has used local species and stories to empower students through scientific skills and knowledge.