Following a six-month national search, Knock Knock Children’s Museum has hired Peter Claffey as its executive director.
“We were looking for a candidate that not only had knowledge of children’s museums but had a passion for elevating Knock Knock to a world-class destination,” board chair Jon LeBlanc says in a prepared statement. “We found that perfect combination with Peter.”
In his new role, Claffey will oversee the museum’s 21-person staff, a five-person executive committee and an annual operating budget of roughly $2.5 million.
Claffey’s experience with children’s and science museums spans some 13 years. Most recently, he served as executive director of Sci-Tech Discovery Center in Frisco, Texas. In his four-and-a-half years there, he oversaw the implementation of exhibits and programs, created outreach initiatives and expanded Sci-Tech’s community partnerships.
Previously, Claffey spent nine years at the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut—first as its facilities and exhibits director and later as executive director, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He was selected by a five-member committee that retained Chicago-based Kittleman & Associates to help them conduct a national search, which ran from late October to April. As of late February, the committee had narrowed the pool of applicants from 27 to five.
Claffey’s hiring as Knock Knock’s executive director comes seven months after Peter Olson stepped down from the post to pursue a career consulting in children’s museum planning. Museum officials say they believe Claffey has what it takes to build upon the foundation left by Olson, under whose leadership Knock Knock became one of Baton Rouge’s most-visited attractions and raised over $1.1 million in philanthropic dollars.
In the interim, Genny Nadler Thomas has been serving as acting executive director. Claffey will officially take over the position on May 6.