Dr. Jane Pisano
Jane Pisano, Ph.D., has served as president and director of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County since November 2001. Her top priority has been to oversee the transformation of the Museum into an indoor and outdoor institution for the 21st century. This includes renovations to the 1913 Building (the Museum’s original home) and the adjacent 1920s Building, a slate of new visitor amenities, five new permanent exhibitions, and the Nature Gardens. With its new outdoor component, the Museum can engage visitors of all ages in the discovery of the past and the wonder of living nature. In all, the transformation has improved more than 60 percent of the Museum’s interior and with the Nature Gardens, doubled its programming space.
Under Pisano’s leadership, the Museum has created compelling experiences with exhibitions including the Dinosaur Hall, Age of Mammals, the Haaga Family Rotunda, the outdoor Spider Pavilion, Treasures from the Vault, Thomas the T. rex Lab, Dino Lab, Visible Vault: Archaeological Treasures from Ancient Latin America, L.A.: light/motion/dreams, and Collapse?. June saw the opening of the 3½ acre Nature Gardens, and their indoor component, the Nature Lab, housed in the six-‐story Otis Booth Pavilion. Becoming Los Angeles explores Southern California through the lenses of environment and culture, and opened in July 2013. A new traveling exhibits gallery hosts Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World. NHM has become a world class destination: a must-‐see stop for residents and visitors and alike, where the story of Los Angeles’ history and nature — as well as that of the planet — unfolds.
The Museum has developed innovative programming including First Fridays, Dinosaur Encounters, Ice Age Encounters, Critter Club, and Junior Scientist; supported important research initiatives such as Dinosaur Institute; strengthened connections to the community through school visit programs and outreach; and built partnerships that position the Museum as a hub for public dialogue on current natural and cultural issues.
Prior to joining NHM, Dr. Pisano was an officer of the University of Southern California for 10 years: as senior vice president for External Relations from 1998 to 2001; as vice president for External Relations from 1994 to 1998; and as dean of the USC School of Public Administration from 1991 to 1998. As senior vice president for External Relations, Dr. Pisano provided strategic and administrative leadership for the university’s external relations programs, including civic and community relations, government relations, public relations, and alumni relations. She remains a tenured full professor in the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Before 1991, Dr. Pisano was president of Los Angeles 2000 and The 2000 Partnership, a civic organization working to improve the quality of life in Southern California. She led the development of a civic action agenda based on the policy recommendations in “L.A. 2000: A City for the Future,” a report prepared by the Los Angeles 2000 Committee.
Prior to her arrival in Los Angeles, Dr. Pisano was on the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and served as a White House Fellow on the National Security Council staff. She earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. degree in political science from Stanford University.