The Board of Directors of the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum announced today that they have hired Chris Slaughter as Executive Director, after a thorough search process.  Slaughter has served as Interim Director since October of 2013 and is a long-time volunteer for the organization. She has led the revitalization effort of the museum over the past year, together with President Diane Adam, Vice President Kim Davis, Executive Director of CASA of Santa Barbara County, CPA Annajane Lowe, and a newly formed Board of Directors.

“I have come full circle with the Discovery Museum,” said Slaughter.  “I began as a Board member when my children where in preschool.  They grew up here as I worked together with Diane Adam to build the facility 10 years ago. And now, as my girls head off to college, I am honored to share my passion for education and the arts to lead the museum into the next decade.”

Slaughter brings 25 years of marketing, public relations, special events and non-profit experience to the position.  She was previously Executive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country Association and Public Relations Director for visual effects studio, CafeFX.  In Los Angeles, she was Marketing Director of Stephen Spielberg’s DIVE! restaurant and worked in television production for Entertainment Tonight and as Associate Producer of the nationally syndicated daily news show, Personalities.  She is currently a creative partner in the Santa Maria-based multi-media marketing company, Mind Control Agency.

Slaughter was appointed as a Trustee of the Santa Barbara Foundation last year and has a long history of public service.  In addition to her work over the past 15 years with the Discovery Museum, she was a founding Board member and five-year President of the Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation.  She worked closely with the Orcutt Union School District administration in many capacities including PTA President and Fundraising Chair roles. Slaughter and her husband, Dr. Joe Slaughter, were honored by the Santa Maria Arts Council in 2010 for their commitment to the community.  Both are graduates of UCLA and have lived in the Santa Maria area for the past 18 years.

“Chris was selected from a great group of passionate applicants.  She has the know-how and skill set that we need now to move us forward with new programming, exhibits and partnerships in the community,” said Adam. “Chris and I have been working hand in hand to put the museum on the launch pad for a successful and sustainable future, as a complement to other education and arts organizations throughout the county.”  Slaughter and Adam both served as Capital Campaign Co-Chairs to develop the Discovery Museum’s 13,000 square foot educational facility in 2004.

“In addition to adding Chris at the lead, we have also recruited a terrific group of men and women to the Board of Directors,” said Adam.  Recent Board appointments include, Allan Hancock College STEM Internship Specialist, Emily Smith; retired executive Roy Reed; Coca-Cola Supervisor, Michael Buhring; Rick Gracia of Tozer Seeds; and Jose Huitron, Founder of Hub 81. Other Directors include Colette Hadley, Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara Executive Director; Todd Edwards, President of Vernon Edwards Constructors; Sara Edwards, Retail and Online Advertising Manager for the Santa Maria Times; Mark Huerth, retired Federal Law Enforcement; and community volunteer Lori Bormes.  Adam shared, “With a renewed sense of place and purpose, along with this wonderful mix of talent and profession, we can really make a difference!”

More about the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum

As the only children’s museum in Santa Barbara County, the mission of the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is to foster family and youth inspired learning by creating experiences to explore ourselves, our valley, our world, and beyond.  The museum’s exhibit and program-based ‘please touch’ atmosphere engenders the best in self-discovery for children and adults.  The Discovery Museum is located at 705 S. McClelland Street in Santa Maria and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from noon to 4 pm.

The 5th Annual Discovery Museum Family Kite Festival is coming up Sunday, April 13th from noon to 4 pm at Rotary Centennial Park and is expected to attract 2,000 attendees. For more information call 805-928-8414 or visit