New York, NY,
17:30 PM

Aileen Hefferren to Step Down as CEO and Director in June 2022

Aileen Hefferren, the Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), announced today that she will be stepping down from her position on June 30, 2022. Working collaboratively with the Board of Trustees and CMOM’s Executive Leadership team, Hefferren has been integral in navigating the institution through the pandemic and advancing its mission to serve as a dynamic educational and cultural resource for all New York City children throughout this period of uncertainty in the city. She has strengthened CMOM’s Board of Trustees and staff leadership teams, developed and implemented best practices supporting institutional operations and programming, and shepherded CMOM into the next phase of planning for its new home, as it reimagines the museum experience to be responsive to the emerging needs of CMOM’s diverse audiences now and in the future. 

The Board of Trustees is forming a committee to oversee the search for CMOM’s next CEO and Director. CMOM’s Executive Leadership team—comprising Chief Programing Officer Leslie Bushara, COO & CFO Peggy Hwan Hebard, and Chief Advancement Officer Karen Kincaid—will jointly lead the museum with the full support of the Board in the interim, with Bushara continuing to guide CMOM’s educational program and vision, Hwan Hebard overseeing operations and finances, and Kincaid spearheading institutional development and the capital campaign.

Stated Hefferren, “The past two years have underscored the critical role that CMOM plays within the cultural and educational fabric of our city. Alongside the Board and the Executive Leadership team, I am proud of the work we have done and continue to do to ensure that CMOM’s program and resources are open and accessible to all audiences, and to have implemented best practices that support resilience as CMOM adapts to a changing future. At the same time, this period of change has motivated me, as it has done for many, to reevaluate my priorities. I remain dedicated to CMOM and the nonprofit sector, and plan to continue my lifelong commitment to nonprofit leadership and development on an independent basis. With a strong executive team in place at CMOM, the timing was right for me to pass the baton at the close of our fiscal year so that the next director can guide CMOM into this exciting, new chapter.”

“On behalf of CMOM’s entire Board of Trustees and staff, we are indebted to Aileen for her leadership and significant contributions made to elevate the museum’s plan for its future and build an exceptional team of professionals to achieve it. Her devotion and rigor have instilled the conviction in us all to realize our vision for an expanded program in our new space on 96th Street, which responds to the needs of our community. As we continue our active work and program at 83rd Street, we remain steadfast in shaping a 21st-century model for a children’s museum that bends the curve on early childhood development,” stated Matt Messinger, Chair of CMOM’s Board of Trustees. He added, “CMOM’s mission has never been more vital and urgent for New York City families.” 

About the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Established in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is a vital destination and resource for New York City children and their families, dedicated to cultivating life-long learners across backgrounds and boroughs. A steward of early childhood education and development, CMOM offers research-based exhibitions and programs that support, challenge, and inspire. Beyond the museum walls, CMOM mounts outreach programs at 60 sites across the city; forges long-term partnerships with community organizations, schools, and nonprofits; equips colleagues with professional development training programs; and shares its award-winning content through traveling exhibitions and online offerings. 

Responding to increased demand for its programs, resources, and services, CMOM purchased 361 Central Park West, a historic former church designed by Carrere and Hastings that had been deconsecrated and abandoned. Together with FXCollaborative, CMOM will be restoring, transforming and reanimating the landmarked structure to create a children’s museum of the future that engages, inspires, and meets the needs of the next generation of curious global citizens. 

For more information about CMOM, visit