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ScienceWorks announces interim director

ScienceWorks has a new interim executive director. Erin Endress, who has served as associate director to the museum for the last 10 months, will step into the new post.

Endress, who holds a degree in museum studies from Eastern Illinois University, has worked at the museum since 2018. Her key points of experience include living history programming, exhibit design, collections management and team leadership, according to a press release.

“I am excited to accept this appointment, and although this is a difficult season for the museum, I am looking forward to working with our dedicated staff and community to help us all come through the pandemic stronger,” Endress said in the release.

Details on why former executive director Dan Ruby, who had helmed ScienceWorks since July 2018, was no longer at the post were not immediately available. Ruby declined comment, but said it was “an honor” to work as museum executive director the past year and a half.

“I wish Erin the best on leading the museum in new directions,” he said.

During his time as director, Ruby oversaw several major exhibits, including one on the Apollo 11 moon landing’s 50th anniversary, and exhibits on the science of flight and sound.

ScienceWorks recently announced that it would be closed until January 2021. Like many area businesses and nonprofits, it has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring adjustments to its day-to-day operations and offerings. Its latest endeavor, ScienceWorks Everywhere, is aimed at distributing kits of scientific instruments and experiments to the community.

Reached by phone, Endress said she wants a key focus of the museum to be on reaching out to area schools to provide more virtual learning support.

“(The pandemic) has really forced us to look at how we’re doing things and how we can better support our local community,” Endress said. “More student support stuff is definitely a focus.”

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.

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