Elizabeth Pierce has earnest passion to fuel curiosity, unleash wonder and celebrate knowledge. As the CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center, she sees limitless potential to evoke a spirit of discovery, creativity and critical thinking for people of all ages. At the heart of her leadership is a deep understanding of CMC’s impact on the lives of people in this community and across the globe.
She is an advocate for early childhood education and lifelong learning, beginning her career at Chicago Children’s Museum. She carried that passion to Cincinnati in 1999, serving as a communications consultant to Cincinnati Museum Center in 2001. Her relationship with CMC grew deeper through regular visits to Union Terminal with her young sons. She joined The Children's’ Museum Advisory Board in 2004, serving as the chair of the advisory board and as a CMC trustee before joining staff as vice president of marketing & communications in 2007.
She has been a key member of the senior leadership team for the past eight years, driving financial success through robust museum admissions revenue, OMNIMAX® films and blockbuster special exhibitions including:
BODIES: The Exhibition (2008), Freedom Sisters (2008), America I AM: The African American Imprint (2010), Dinosaurs Unearthed (2010), Cleopatra (2011), Pompeii (2012), Dead Sea Scrolls (2013), Ultimate Dinosaurs (2013), Diana: A Celebration (2014), Mummies of the World (2015), Science of Sports (2015), Art of the Brick (2015), Da Vinci: The Genius (2016) Vikings: Beyond the Legend (2016), and Star Wars: The Power of Costume (2017).
Two community programs that she helped to establish in 2008 are still thriving: The Children’s Museum Difference Makers and the annual Learning Through Play Conference.
Elizabeth helped secure the 2009 National Medal of Museum & Library Services award to CMC and the 2012 Accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.
In 2012, Elizabeth served as a key leader for Cincinnati Museum Center in the merger with National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, bringing together the two organizations to help leverage museum expertise.
During her tenure, Elizabeth has dynamically engaged CMC curators and exhibition staff to leverage the vast collections for community impact and fundraising growth, including the celebration of Union Terminal’s 75th anniversary year (2008), the series of CMC Treasures exhibitions (2012-2015) and the Daughters of the Queen City initiative (2014). From local history to premiere global exhibits, Elizabeth will guide CMC as future content and programs are kept relevant, fresh and prolific for valued visitors.
Elizabeth has been a leader in the efforts to secure public support for Union Terminal. She served as a key staff leader of the 2014 Cultural Facilities Task Force. She helped drive the Save our Icons community engagement campaign in partnership with Music Hall resident companies and Landor and she established a vital partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Elizabeth guided the Union Terminal sales tax campaign, resulting in the passage of this vital community support by 62% of Hamilton County voters.
Cincinnati Museum Center is pleased that Elizabeth will continue to passionately lead the organization building on her extensive experience as a leader in Cincinnati and at other notable museums over the past 20 years. Early in her career, Elizabeth gained experience in the photo archives department of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.; public program development at The Corcoran Gallery of Art; special events and fundraising at The National Endowment for the Arts and the Chicago Children’s Museum. She stepped outside the museum industry for a period of time gaining strategic communications skills, community engagement and media relations expertise.
Elizabeth Pierce deeply treasures the unique range of subjects that CMC presents. Her personal and family experiences have given her a healthy fascination with biology and the natural world; an enthusiasm for geography and an appreciation for layers of context revealed by history. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and studied at the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg. Her experiences overseas as a student of history, architecture and economics ultimately inspired her to pursue a museum career. She holds a Masters of Museum Studies/Administration and American Studies from The George Washington University.
She is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati, Class 32. She has been a leader in several parenting/school groups, a member of Kindervelt #50, a contributor to Impact 100 and is a current member of the Women’s Capital Club. Elizabeth and her husband, Brad, and their children have been residents of Cincinnati for 15 years and reside in Indian Hill.