New Children’s Museum CEO brings experience in outreach to ‘beautiful’ facility

New Children's Museum CEO brings experience in outreach to 'beautiful' facility

She’s never eaten crawfish, and she calls the local shaved-ice treat “snow cones,” but the new head of the Louisiana Children’s Museum is like a child in wonderland — giddy with excitement and bouncing from one discovery to the next.

On March 1, New Jersey native Tifferney White began her first day as CEO of the children’s museum, taking the helm of the $47.5 million, 55,000-square foot complex on 8.44 acres in City Park. Her appointment followed a six-month national search and the unanimous decision of a seven-person committee led by LCM board president G. Wogan Bernard and vice president Lauren Doussan.

“Going into the search, we knew we wanted somebody with children’s museum experience on a national level to elevate LCM,” Bernard said. “We wanted someone who knew what it took to take our strategic mission and vision forward, and Tifferney is clearly someone who had the experience.”

A first-generation college graduate, White grew up as the eldest of three sisters. Their parents worked in manufacturing. 

“We never went to museums, unless it was on a school field trip,” she said. “But I always knew education was important and it was expected that I would go to college.”

White was a double major in chemistry and psychology at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, planning to become a physician. Toward the end of her studies, she was encouraged to get some interviewing experience.

Discovery Place, a children’s museum in Charlotte, was looking for people. “I honestly didn’t even know what I was interviewing for,” White said.

After acing multiple interviews, she was offered a job as the museum’s science club specialist, which involved creating hands-on educational experiences that traveled in vans around the state. She took it, thinking she’d work for a while and then go to medical school.

“I basically started out knocking on people’s doors asking them to loan me their children for a while,” White said, laughing. “Soon I had kids running up to the vans to help me unload. It was that excitement that pulled me in. I kept thinking, ‘These kids are me.’”

Starting from scratch

After building the museum’s community outreach program from scratch and running it for 13 years, White was recruited to Las Vegas for six years where, as CEO, she led the creation of a new, $50 million children’s museum. In 2017, she was drawn back to North Carolina to serve as the chief learning officer of Discovery Place, which by then encompassed four museums.

Wherever she went, White was tasked with rebuilding or building something from scratch. When LCM came calling, however, she had an opportunity to build on a solid foundation.

“Everything is here for us to take it to the next level,” she said.

Her first visit to City Park to see the LCM facility, which was built in 2019, blew her away, she said.

“It’s beautiful,” she said, “and I’ve never used that word to describe a children’s museum before. Sitting here on this lagoon with acres of outdoor space — children’s museums don’t typically even have outdoor spaces.”

Feeling at home

However, White knows the museum might feel intimidating for some in the community. One of her main goals is to make sure every child and family feels right at home.

“A lot of the work in my career was about bringing experiences from the museum out to the community, but true equity is not that,” she said.

“These exhibits, the way they are placed and designed in the building (are) purely magical, and every child should have that experience. We need to figure out what barriers there may be, and break them down.”

White said her favorite exhibit is the display on the Mississippi River.

“I love it because you see this long, winding water feature and there’s this intention behind it that most people don’t realize. If you look, you’ll see there are license plates from all these different states — the states the river runs through — ending with Louisiana,” she said. “You also have this engineering component with the ability to dam the river. You see how the river moves, and you learn to both appreciate and respect it.”

‘Uniquely New Orleans’

While White praises the museum as being “uniquely New Orleans,” she’s still getting to know what that means.

She rattled off a list of events she’s attended so far, which included the Audubon Insititute’s Zoo-to-Do, City Park’s Lark in the Park, Children’s Hospital’s Sugarplum Ball and The Times-Picayune Loving Cup award ceremony.

Recent memories of Jazz Fest made her smile.

“I thought I knew what to expect — music, stages — but it was gargantuan! I went on Saturday, and it was pouring down rain but it didn’t even matter,” she said, “I was so excited. I was like, ‘Let’s go!’”

As part of a nationwide program called Museums for All, the Louisiana Children’s Museum offers general admission for $2 per person (for up to four people) with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and a photo ID.

During the summer, the museum is open every day except Mondays.


About Mary Weyand 26648 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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