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January 14, 2022

The EcoTarium appoints Family Health Center executive as new CEO

Photo | Courtesy of The EcoTarium Noreen Johnson Smith, president and CEO of The EcoTarium in Worcester

After a rocky year, Worcester science museum The EcoTarium has announced Noreen Johnson Smith, an experienced community health leader, as its new president and CEO, according to a Thursday press release from the organization.

Smith will begin her role on Monday.

Smith has a 35-year career, with her longest role at Family Health Center of Worcester, where she most recently served as chief strategy officer. She has also held leadership positions with The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts in Worcester and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

She serves on the boards of the Tewksbury-based Public Health Museum in Massachusetts and Worcester Community Action Council, and is the town moderator of Charlton.

"We are thrilled that Noreen will be joining our dedicated team at the EcoTarium as our next president and CEO. Noreen's extensive professional experience and strong ties to the community will bring stability and thoughtful leadership to the museum," said Sherri Pitcher, chair of the EcoTarium's board of trustees, in a statement.

The EcoTarium has struggled through the coronavirus pandemic with leadership changes and an extensive closure which led to an 80% earned revenue loss.

The museum’s former president, Lucy Hale, stepped down in May 2021 after three years in the role. Since then, two different interim presidents have filled in, Kerry Castorano and Michael Halperson, whom Smith will be replacing.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the museum laid off a large portion of its employees. Workers at The EcoTarium voted to join union AFSCME Council 93 over the summer.

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