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MSU announces new director for Museum of the Rockies

Posted at 1:33 PM, Jun 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-16 15:33:26-04

BOZEMAN – Montana State University has hired Christopher Dobbs to serve as the next executive director of the Museum of the Rockies.

Dobbs is currently the executive director of the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Connecticut, where he has served since 2013. He has 25 years of experience working for a diverse array of museums. 

“We are excited to have Christopher join MSU’s Museum of the Rockies,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “He brings with him a wealth of experience and a very collaborative mindset. The Museum of the Rockies is a gem and I know Christopher can continue to make it shine.” 

Dobbs started his administrative career in museums in 1998 as associate director of education for Mystic Seaport: Museum of America and the Sea in Mystic, Connecticut, where he worked until 2004. He was then chosen as the executive director for the Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society in West Hartford, Connecticut, where he completed a $1.2 million capital campaign, created the Noah’s Discovery Center with hands-on learning experiences for children, and collaborated with the National Public Radio gameshow about language, “Say’s You!”, which brought regional and national attention to the museum. Dobbs left the Noah Webster House in 2013 for the Connecticut River Museum.  

During his time as executive director of the Connecticut River Museum, Dobbs has developed and managed a $5 million capital fundraising campaign for the museum’s infrastructure, implemented several new programs to connect the community to the museum, led a project to document for the first time the area’s folklore, and co-curated exhibits on topics ranging from invasive species to the 400-year history of alcohol in the Connecticut River Valley.

Dobbs also works as in independent consultant assisting organizations with strategic planning. He holds a bachelor’s degree in American history from Indiana University and a master’s degree in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York at Oneonta.

“It is an unbelievable honor to be chosen to lead the Museum of the Rockies,” Dobbs said. “The museum has an incredible state, national and international reputation. Its staff is second to none, its collections world-class, and its supporters deeply committed.”

Dobbs will begin on September 1, 2018. He succeeds Shelley McKamey, who announced her retirement in January after working at the museum since 1987 and leading it as executive director since 2003. The Museum of the Rockies is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It has been a Smithsonian affiliate since 2005 and is a repository for fossils found on federal lands. In 2017, the museum had a record 196,201 visitors.