Press Release National Children’s Museum Announces Contract Extension for President and CEO Crystal Bowyer

press release

National Children’s Museum Announces Contract Extension for President and CEO Crystal Bowyer

June 22, 2023

WASHINGTON — National Children’s Museum, a nationally recognized cultural and educational institution dedicated to play-based science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) learning, announced a three-year contract extension of President and CEO, Crystal R. Bowyer.

Hired in 2017 by the institution’s board of trustees, Bowyer was tasked with overseeing all aspects of the Museum’s historic reopening in downtown Washington including space acquisition, exhibit and experience development, brand strategy, capital campaign fundraising, strategic partnerships, and institutional and board growth. 

“Crystal is a dynamic leader with a powerful vision of how play-based, early STEM learning is the runway to launch the next generation of innovators and has turned that vision into the reality that is National Children’s Museum today,” said Robert Volmer, chair of the board of trustees at National Children’s Museum. “She has assembled a best-in-class team who has brought the institution’s mission to life. As the Museum approaches its 50th anniversary next year, we are delighted that Crystal will continue to lead the institution into its next chapter of impact. Under her exceptional leadership, the Museum is poised to create a lasting legacy, shaping the minds of future innovators and solidifying the Museum’s position as a beacon of learning and inspiration.”

Under Bowyer’s leadership, National Children’s Museum opened its new home in downtown Washington in February 2020 to fill a critical void for interactive and early learning as a STEAM institution focused on playful, hands-on engagement opportunities. After temporarily closing for in-person experiences in March 2020 due to the pandemic, the Museum reopened in September 2021. Nearly half a million visitors from all 50 states, the District, Puerto Rico and countries around the world have visited the Museum to date, and the institution continues to expand access through innovative programs and partnerships.

“The reimagined National Children’s Museum was designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, and since our reopening we have already welcomed hundreds of thousands of children from across the country to experience our interactive, joyful learning experiences,” said Bowyer. “As the children’s museum and science center in our nation’s capital, I truly believe we have the power to spark curiosity and affect lasting change. It is an honor to continue doing this work and creating magic for visitors alongside this amazing team.”

Bowyer has dedicated her career to serving children, with 20 years of experience in government and nonprofit administration. She came to National Children’s Museum from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the largest science and technology center in the western hemisphere. Previously, Bowyer held leadership roles for the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Boys & Girls Town of Missouri, where she was awarded the Employee of the Year Award for Outstanding Innovation. A Missouri native, Bowyer received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri and received the Dean Woo Fellowship for Leadership while earning her Master of Nonprofit Administration from University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. She is a member of the board of trustees for the Association of Children’s Museums, where she was elected Vice President in April 2023. She has served as adjunct faculty at North Park University and presented at various business and international museum conferences. Bowyer also previously served on the boards of The Cradle Adoption Agency and The Driskill Foundation. In 2020, she was named “40 Under 40” by the Washington Business Journal. Her work has taken her around the world in service to children, and she has been featured as a business leader in The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Modern Luxury DC, Washington Life Magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine, NBC Chicago and WJLA. Bowyer resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband, nine-year-old son and two-year-old daughter.


About National Children’s Museum

STEAM adventure awaits at National Children’s Museum, located in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. With a mission to inspire children to care about and change the world, the Museum sparks curiosity and ignites creativity for children under the age of twelve and their families. Through playful science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) based exhibits, programs and virtual offerings, the Museum reaches millions of people each year. Learn more and plan your visit at

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The below image may be used by press with the following credit line: “Photo by Greg Powers.”

Crystal R. Bowyer, President and CEO of National Children’s Museum