ROANOKE, Va., Dec. 19, 2011 – Jim Rollings, whose experience includes museum leadership with Heifer Village in Arkansas and the NASA Langley Visitor Center, is the new executive director of the Science Museum of Western Virginia.
Earlier this year, Virginia Tech announced a partnership with the science museum to promote and increase science literacy.
Originally from Roanoke, Rollings served 10 years as director of the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach and two years with Sarasota's Gulfcoast Wonder and Imagination Zone before moving to Little Rock, site of the Heifer International Campus.
"Jim Rollings impressed us with his extensive experience in long-range planning and exhibit design," said Susan Short, associate vice president for Outreach and International Affairs. "He knows how to make exhibits fun and interesting – how to make them come alive for children and adults. We look forward to working with him to enhance community-based science education in the region."
The museum's downtown Roanoke space is being renovated, but temporary headquarters can be found at Tanglewood Mall across from Belk and next to the Payless shoe store. The move back to Center in the Square on Campbell Avenue is expected in early 2013.
"The Virginia Tech Roanoke Center plans to work with the museum to create professional development opportunities for [kindergarten through 12th-grade] teachers," said Roanoke Center Director Kay Dunkley. "Activities will take place both at the museum and at the Roanoke Center's seventh-floor offices in the Roanoke Higher Education Center downtown."
The Science Museum of Western Virginia is the oldest science museum in Virginia, having been founded in 1970 by a group of teachers and community volunteers. The museum is nationally accredited by the American Association of Museums.
Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs supports the university’s engagement mission by creating community partnerships and economic development projects, offering professional development programs and technical assistance, and building collaborations to enrich discovery and learning – all with the overarching goal of improving the quality of life for people within the commonwealth and throughout the world. Outreach and International Affairs leads Virginia Tech’s presence on five continents; its regional research and development centers across the commonwealth focus on graduate education and professional development. Blacksburg-based centers are dedicated to student engagement, language, policy, and governance.