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Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum Executive Director announces retirement

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The U.P. Children’s Museum opened 25 years ago, because of the vision and drive of its founder, Nheena Weyer Ittner.

She just recently announced her plans to retire. Though the museum has made major financial strides and exhibits expansions, Ittner reminisces about the little things during her tenure.

“It’s not probably the big experiences I remember the most, it’s just the tiny little people I remember the most. The funny things that a little kid will say to me or a thing a parent will say to me while they’re walking through the museum, I guess those are the things that really touch me,” she said.

Ittner said the idea of the museum came about in 1987 and it opened ten years later. Her steadfast leadership has been at the forefront since its founding. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Coordinator Jim Edwards commends the strong leadership during the turbulent time.

“Worked with government funds and local funders, to make sure that nobody missed a step here at the museum, all the staff got paid and it’s been a wonderful time of leadership by Nheena,” Edwards said.

Ittner wanted to create an unique museum for kids, as she involved kids in the design process of the exhibits. As there have been plenty of good memories throughout the non-profit’s history, Ittner said it was a long and hard choice to retire.

“I knew whenever I decided to retire it would be something I absolutely knew I wanted to retire and yeah I am looking forward to it. What am I going to do in retirement, I have absolutely no clue but a lot of people are giving me advice,” Ittner said.

As the museum’s Board of Directors starts the process of finding a new Executive Director, it’s clear no one can replace Ittner. But she is confident the board will find someone to carry the museum’s spirit forward. Her retirement date is to be determined, based on the search for a new leader.

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