Susan Westhoff named new executive director of Ann Arbor Hands On Museum, Leslie Science & Nature Center

The entrance of the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. (Sarah Parlette, WDIV)

ANN ARBOR – After a nationwide search, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Leslie Science & Nature Center have named Susan Westhoff as executive director.

“We are thrilled that Susan has accepted our offer to assume the Executive Director role,” said board chair and Chair of the Succession Committee Donald Burke in a release.

“Her knowledge of and passion for our organization and our stakeholders was evident in each step of the search process. The Board of Trustees and staff are very confident that Susan is the right person to continue our mission and lead us into a very bright future!”

Westoff has been the nonprofit’s chief operating officer for more than four years. She has held leadership positions at Trinity Irish Dance and the Continental Divide Trail Alliance, and previously led programs at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the University Musical Society.

More than 120 people applied for the position, officials said.

“This organization is one that makes a difference daily in the lives of children and families across Southeastern Michigan. I am honored to move into this role, and grateful for the opportunity to continue to build and move forward with our incredible team,” Westhoff said. “We see the need for fostering curiosity, wonder and connection, and are grateful to build and support everyone in our community.”

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, at 220 E. Ann St., offers hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics exhibits and activities for visitors ranging from interactive water exhibits and massive teeth to simple machines and lights.

At 1831 Traver Rd., Leslie Science & Nature Center has nature-based experiences like an inclusive, outdoor playscape, raptor enclosures and indoor critter house.

The two Ann Arbor locations merged several years ago to offer STEM experiences for more than 300,000 visitors every year. Each hosts regular, educational programming for all ages and produces community programs in more than 11 Southeastern Michigan counties.

Learn more about the nonprofit here

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.