Central Oregon’s premier museum has a new leader. Dr. Dana Whitelaw, formerly vice president of programs at The High Desert Museum, has been appointed president, effective immediately, the organization announced Wednesday.
Whitelaw was selected after an exhaustive nationwide search by the Museum Board of Trustees. Board Chair David Souther, who led the search committee, said the unanimous decision bodes very well for the future of the museum.
“We had so many high-quality candidates -- museum professionals from all across the country who wanted to lead this organization,” Souther said. “We chose Dr. Whitelaw for her passion, her track record of success and her intimate knowledge of the operation. The selection process was very thorough, and we are completely confident that Dana Whitelaw was the right choice.”
Whitelaw steps into the role as president following the retirement of Janeanne Upp last December.
Whitelaw started as a grant writer at the High Desert Museum in 2008. She holds a Master of Science degree and a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Colorado. Before moving to Bend she spent eight years teaching in the Anthropology Department at the University of Colorado and conducting research in Madagascar. She lives in Bend with her husband and two children.
“I’m very grateful that the board has given me this opportunity to lead,” Whitelaw said. “The organization is in a very solid place right now, and with such a talented team of people here. I’m really looking forward to taking the next steps at the museum.”
The High Desert Museum is a regional museum acclaimed for its stewardship of the natural, historical and cultural resources of the High Desert. It features wildlife, indoor and outdoor exhibits, living history performances, an impressive collection of Native American artifacts and Western art and offers an extensive array of educational programming. The Museum is 10 minutes south of downtown Bend on Highway 97.