For Immediate Release Contact: Kevin Callaghan
April 16, 2010 Mike Hallman
Dunbar to Step Down at Museum of Flight
Seattle, WA – Dr. Bonnie Dunbar will step down as chief executive officer of the Museum of Flight effective July 1, 2010 in order to become more involved several strategic initiatives critical to the Museum’s future. She will focus initially on obtaining one of the three space shuttles to be retired next year and fundraising for a Space Gallery to house it. In order to free Dunbar’s time to focus on these and other activities, Michael Hallman, a member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, will take charge of day to day operations beginning next week. Hallman, a former top executive for Microsoft, Boeing Computer Services and IBM will serve without pay.
“Obtaining one of the retired shuttles for the state of Washington and building a world class Space Gallery is a top priority for the Museum and time is running short,” said Kevin Callaghan, chairman of the museum’s board of trustees. “We are in a good position to be successful but we need a strong push to the finish and Bonnie is the person to lead this effort.”
“Thanks to the governor and legislature, the state’s capital budget included $3 million for a Space Gallery to house the space shuttle and other space exploration artifacts,” Dunbar said. “It brings us to three quarters of our goal which we expect to reach soon. In the meantime, we are hard at work on a design for the gallery.”
While the building is essential, Dunbar noted that there will be strong competition for the retired shuttles. Dunbar will work with government, business, education and civic leaders to continue to build statewide support for the space shuttle acquisition. She will also increase her engagement with officials at the national level to assure that the Museum continues to be well positioned for the shuttle award process.
Dunbar will also play a key role in several other strategic initiatives on behalf of the Museum. These include continued participation in regional educational task forces, supporting the Aviation High School and promoting the Museum’s numerous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) oriented K-12 education programs.
“Bonnie has served the Museum with great focus, intelligence and energy in her five years as our leader,” Callaghan said. “She has led us through difficult financial times and will leave the museum is a sound financial condition. We have been fortunate to have her as our leader for the past five years.”
Since becoming President and CEO in 2005, Dunbar has overseen expansion of the Museum's collections and exhibit space, the addition of the award winning Wyckoff Pedestrian Bridge, the acceptance of the Museum as a Smithsonian Affiliate and the recent reaccreditation the Museum by the American Association of Museums. The Museum of Flight is currently only one of a few air and space museums to have both designations. She has strengthened and expanded educational programs and is part of a regional partnership to build a new Aviation High School on the Museum campus.
Prior to becoming President and CEO of the Museum of Flight, Dunbar worked in the aerospace industry for both Boeing and Rockwell International, and retired from NASA after serving for 27 years in both operational flight and senior executive service positions. Between 1985 and 1998, Dunbar flew five Space Shuttle missions, two of them to the Russian Space Station, MIR. Dunbar is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and an elected member of the National Academy of Engineers (NAE), and plans to spend more time working with those organizations to recruit more youth into the engineering field.