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Las Vegas Children's Museum CEO Starts Tenure With Outreach Push

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Courtesy Children's Discovery Museum

Children's Discovery Museum CEO Melissa Kaiser visits a water exhibit at the 28-year-old downtown Las Vegas institution.

The Discovery Children’s Museum in downtown Las Vegas is under new management after longtime Pennsylvania philanthropy executive Melissa Kaiser became the museum’s CEO in May.

Since then she has worked to improve the museum’s outreach to the community, including creating traveling presentations, installing bilingual signage, and offering steep admission discounts to families on assistance.

“We are here to welcome everyone and level the playing field for children who may come from poverty, children who may come from different cultural backgrounds,” Kaiser told State of Nevada. “It’s really key that we collaborate with the right partners to make sure we’re building the trust and inviting the community into our space.”

Kaiser’s husband, Roy Kaiser, preceded her to Las Vegas, becoming artistic director of Nevada Ballet Theatre in late 2017. A recent magazine profile dubbed the pair “Las Vegas’ newest power couple.”

“We’re not sure about how much power we really have to wield,” Melissa Kaiser said, adding, “In seriousness, we have the ability to affect the cultural climate here in Nevada.”

She said the museum plans a busy holiday season, including inviting young people in for crafts while their parents shop on Black Friday morning and “Nutcracker”- themed programming developed in conjunction with the ballet.

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Kaiser said she and her husband joke that they didn't really move cities they just moved to the suburbs because in Philadelphia they had been living in an urban neighborhood.

"But we love the conveniences, we love the landscape, and we love the people.... we have been embraced so overwhelmingly by the community of great people here I would probably be more apt to compare the people and say that this is just an optimistic can-do town,” she said.

She said it did not take long for them to decide Southern Nevada was the right community for them and it was one they wanted to be a part of improving. 

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Melissa Kaiser, CEO, Discovery Children's Museum in Las Vegas

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