The Leonardo has hired an experienced museum director to assist with fundraising, strategic planning and operational development of the planned science and art center. Peter Giles, one of The Leonardo's original National Advisory Board members and a longtime supporter of the project, will join the organization as the new director of program strategy, museum officials announced.
"This is an extremely exciting time to become involved with The Leonardo," Giles said. "Its left/right brain approach is the exact model the industry is looking at to build the educational infrastructure and encourage our next generation of innovators."
The Leonardo is planned as a first-of-a-kind science and art center with a multidisciplinary approach at the site of the former Salt Lake City library. Museum officials say The Leonardo will infuse science with art to encourage unbounded curiosity, bold inquiry and daring innovation among young people and adults.
"The success of The Leonardo will influence and attract people from throughout Utah, and across the Intermountain West," Giles said. "I look forward to being part of such an important effort."
Giles brings 28 years of experience in the field. He spearheaded planning and fundraising efforts for The Tech Museum of Innovation, a $113 million museum in San Jose, Calif., dedicated to engaging visitors of all ages in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives.
"The Leonardo will reap tremendous benefits by adding Peter to the management team," said Mary Tull, executive director of The Leonardo. "His extensive experience in both forming and running successful museums will help The Leonardo establish a healthy foundation and ensure long-term success."
When Giles retired after 18 years as executive director of The Tech, the museum had 114 full-time employees, an annual operating budget of $12 million, and had served more than 4 million visitors and 1 million educators and students.
In 2005, Giles was named executive director at Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, a program of the University of Hawaii-Hilo. During his first two years, Giles built the team from two to 22 full-time staff members, raised over $1 million and established the identity and mission statement, as well as a sustainable business plan.
Prior to working at The Tech, Giles served as CEO of the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, which brought together companies to work in collaboration with local and state government, labor and public interest groups. He also worked as a consultant and researcher.Giles has served in board roles of several international professional associations, including the Association of Science and Technology Centers and the board of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network. He currently is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum-Silicon Valley Chapter.