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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Dierking to Lead Efforts at Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, which is set to begin construction of the San Fernando Valley’s first city museum, has appointed Mark Dierking as its executive director. The appointment is effective January 1, 2005. Dierking, who is currently chief planning deputy to Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla, has been involved with the museum since it began looking for a new home. In his new post, he will be responsible for managing construction, overseeing the development of exhibits and fundraising for the museum, which will be located in the Hansen Dam area. “I have three children, but I also think I have first hand experience on what it takes to do a good children’s museum,” said Dierking, a Valley resident whose own children are eight, five and two years old. “The museum will offer a space where parents and kids can go and be together and relax. It can also turn into a space where people can go and talk about children’s issues, so it can be something bigger, not just for the San Fernando Valley, but for all of Los Angeles.” Museum officials have been seeking funding for the facility since the decision to locate the facility in the Valley was made about two years ago. Although they are close to the sum needed for the groundbreaking, they still need about $20 million to complete the project. Recently, they decided to scale back their initial plans and build a 58,000-square-foot facility instead of the 72,000-square-foot building first envisioned because of the difficulty of raising funds. Several reasons have been sited for the fundraising difficulties. Museum officials and others who have been involved with the facility point out that philanthropic giving of all kinds is down, both from private and public donors, and the Children’s Museum has had the added burden of a location that is not familiar to the downtown philanthropic community. Dierking said he is hopeful that donors will be more generous once the groundbreaking, expected to begin this summer, is underway. Shelly Garcia

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