Flint Hills Discovery Center Director Resigns

By  | 

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Flint Hills Discovery Center director Bob Workman will be leaving his position with the City of Manhattan to become the director of the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, officials announced Wednesday.

Workman will stay on at the FHDC through mid-January to continue in his current capacity and assist with the national search for his replacement.

“Bob has done a terrific job in bringing this project through a very successful construction process as well as assembling and leading an incredible team that has successfully realized the Flint Hills Discovery Center,” City Manager Ron Fehr said. “He has nurtured numerous relationships throughout the region establishing the Discovery Center as a place maker and portal to the Flint Hills all while laying a very thoughtful and solid foundation for our long term success. His leadership will be greatly missed and we wish him the very best.”

Workman is leaving to further the growth of the Ulrich Museum of Art at WSU, the institution where he began his career in 1978. Raised in Wichita, Workman’s museum career has been predominantly at art institutions on the east coast and Texas. This is also a personal decision, as he and his wife Liz will be returning home to Wichita to care for family.

“I am honored to have played a key role in making the Flint Hills Discovery Center the important regional and national center that it is rapidly becoming,” stated Workman. “I will miss participating in the next phase of growth, but local and regional leadership for the Discovery Center is strong, and my successor will bring his or her own talents to enrich the next years of programs and growth.”

During its first six months of operation, the Flint Hills Discovery Center has exceeded its 2012 attendance and revenue goals, with the busy holiday season yet to occur. As of October 31, almost 47,000 people have paid admission to the Discovery Center, and another 7,100 have attended special events and programs. Importantly, revenues have already exceeded the year’s projected expenses.

Curt Loupe, Director of Parks and Recreation, will lead the transition. “We had the right person at the right time with Bob, and I am confident his hard work will be noticed by prospective candidates nationally. The Discovery Center is well-positioned to attract someone special, and I know we will find an exceptional person to build on Bob’s great work.”

A national search will commence shortly, with an anticipated start date for the new director within the first quarter of 2013.

Before arriving in Manhattan, Workman was executive director of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. He also served as associate director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth.

He will begin his work at the Ulrich on Jan. 20.

Workman replaces Patricia McDonnell, who left the Ulrich to become the executive director of the Wichita Art Museum.

The Ulrich museum was founded in 1974.