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Shell Museum introduces new executive director

By Staff | Jun 27, 2013

Dorrie Hipschman

The board of trustees of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum has announced the hiring of Dorrie Hipschman as the museum’s new executive director.

Hipschman brings a wealth of experience with more than 20 years leading non-profit organizations. Most recently, she was executive director of the Cade Museum in Gainesville, Fla. Additionally, she has served as executive director at The Building for Kids in Appleton, Wisc., the Children’s Museum in Stockton, Calif., and the Flathead Convention and Visitors Association in Whitefish, Mont. Hipschman also was development director at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, N.D.

“I am delighted to be joining the great board and staff of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and look forward to becoming an active member of the Sanibel community. I’m confident that, together, we’ll grow and continue to improve this wonderful gem of a museum for the benefit of all,” Hipschman said.

Hipschman is a cum laude graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in American Studies and additional MBA courses at the University of Hawaii.

The Shell Museum will greatly benefit from Hipschman’s extensive skills in strategic planning, museum expansion, major gift fundraising and grant writing, and experience in managing staff and volunteers, according to board president Clair Beckmann.

Hipschman has received several museum awards including the American Library Services for Children Award, MetLife Promising Practices Award for children’s health programming and the Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau Destination Builder Award.

“Dorrie Hipschman is a lifelong enthusiast of both shells and the ocean environment that they represent. Having come from a large, scientifically-minded, sailing family, she has spent much of her life hunting for, cleaning and collecting seashells along the Atlantic coast, while scuba diving in Hawaii, on Sanibel Island and while snorkeling in Saipan,” Beckmann said.

The board also said Dr. Jos Leal will transition to become curator and director of education.

“From the unique perspective of a marine scientist, it will be great to have the opportunity to expand on and interpret new findings to our visitors and followers worldwide,” said Leal. “With Dorrie taking on the museum management, I will be able to devote my time, as curator, to the very specialty that introduced me to museum activities in the first place – collection-based research and organization. My thanks to our supporters for their continued assistance and support of the Shell Museum and its efforts.”