Museum of Discovery Names Kelley Bass CEO

The Museum of Discovery of Little Rock on Tuesday named Kelley Bass its new CEO, replacing Nan Selz, who is retiring on Dec. 31 after about nine years as chief executive.

Bass most recently was assistant dean for external affairs at the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He has been on the nonprofit museum's board of trustees for three years and is currently board secretary.

Before joining UALR, Bass spent nine years at Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock in senior communications roles. Before that, he spent 18 years as a newspaper reporter, columnist and editor at the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Times.

Bass said the museum "plays a critical role in igniting a passion" for science, technology and math in Arkansans.

"I will continue to spread that message and to stress the museum's importance -- not only for the people who visit and experience our amazing exhibits but for the state's future and the creation of a pipeline of interested, capable students who pursue science, technology and engineering and math degrees in college and go on to fruitful careers at Arkansas companies," he said.

The museum didn't disclose Bass' salary. According to the Form 990 that the Museum of Discovery filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Selz was paid a salary of $106,080 in calendar year 2010, plus $3,840 in "other compensation."

Also Tuesday, the museum announced that Diane LaFollette will remain as chief operating officer at the museum. She has been director of programming and director of the Arkansas Discovery Network.

"We believe that with Kelley and Diane, we have an excellent management team that can help this musuem achieve its mission of creating an interactive and innovative environment and be the 'go-to' place for STEM education and leadership," said J. Bruce Cross, the museum board chairman.

Located in the River Market District of Little Rock, the Museum of Discovery is the oldest museum in the city and the city's only science and technology museum. It occupies 50,000-SF of space and has more than 80 permanent interactive exhibits.

Since reopening after renovations in January, the museum has hosted more than 140,000 visitors.