Dayton museum director stepping down

The long-time president of a local museum will step down at year’s end.

Mark Meister, the president and CEO of the The Dayton Society of Natural History,

will retire on December 31 of this year.

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

The 64-year-old has led the organization that includes the Boonshoft Museum of DiscoverySunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park and the Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve since 2000.

>> PHOTOS: Meet the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery’s lovable critters

Meister will consult the organization through March.

Before coming to Dayton, Meister was the Executive Director of the Archaeological Institute of America in Boston. Prior to that, he directed museums in Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, and Connecticut.

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Under Meister's leadership, the society says: 
→The Caryl D. Philips Space Theater became the first planetarium in the world to combine Digistar 4 full-dome video capability with the Christie Mirage 3-D system in 2012. The planetarium re-opened in October after a four-week refurbishment project.

The Sun Room, NASA's Exoplanet Exploration and the only Science on a Sphere in Ohio opened at the Boonshoft with major federal agency support.

→ The Wild Ohio Zoo was renovated in 2010 and was rebranded the Discovery Zoo.

The zoo changed its range of animals from Ohio to worldwide.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

→ SunWatch’s 1988 visitor center and museum was renovated in 2005 and 2006.

→ The museum assumed operations of Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve in Oregonia, a National Historic Landmark, in 2009.

>> MORE: Five things to know about Fort Ancient 

Meister founded the Dayton Regional Science Festival in 2011 at the Boonshoft and oversaw the rejuvenation of the museum’s summer camp program.

Meister served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations including  the Dayton Sister Cities Committee, the Dayton Council on World Affairs, the Dayton Chapter of Prevent Blindness Ohio and the Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau, and was president of the Dayton Rotary Club. 
He has been co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation since 2007 and was named the Ohio Museum Professional of the Year by the Ohio Museums Association in 2008.

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