A McFarland native and former president of the Children's Museum of Phoenix has been named the new executive director of Madison Children's Museum.

Deborah Gilpin was selected by the museum's search committee after the committee reviewed more than two dozen candidates.

Gilpin was president and chief executive officer for nine years of the Children's Museum of Phoenix, which was named one of the top 10 children's museums in the country by Parents Magazine (Madison also is on the list).

Gilpin is replacing Ruth Shelly, who left the job in May to become the executive director of the Portland Children's Museum.

"Deb brings the whole package," Peggy Pyle, chair of the search committee, said in a news release. "She has a tremendous breadth of experience to bring to our community."

Gilpin said Madison Children's Museum represents "the best practices for strengthening children."

"I look forward to articulating the unique value and vital importance of the museum to different audiences, and to building even great community support and commitment for its mission," she said.



Bill Novak is a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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