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Jim Walther

New Mexico House of Representatives Honors Outgoing National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Executive Director Jim Walther

February 7, 2023, Declared “Jim Walther Day” in the House of Representatives

Outgoing Executive Director Jim Walther of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History was honored by the New Mexico House of Representatives through House Memorial 30, a declaration recognizing his 26-year career at the Museum and his contributions to the transformation of nuclear education.

The declaration recognized February 7, 2023, as "Jim Walther Day" at the 56th Legislature-State of New Mexico was introduced by Meredith A. Dixon and Debra M. Sarinana, Susan K. Herrera, and Christine Chandler.

The declaration read before the House of Representatives was unanimously accepted by all in attendance and noted, “Jim Walther’s impact as an educator is unparalleled in terms of both quality and reach, welcoming school-aged children into programs and learning initiatives to become better informed on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and nuclear science.”

Walther will retire on March 3, 2023.

Born in South Charleston, West Virginia, Walther received his B.F.A in visual arts from West Virginia University’s School of Fine Arts. He has worked in the museum business for 45 years. Walther previously served as the vice president of programs and exhibits at The Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as the director of exhibits at Cumberland Science Museum and Grassmere Wildlife Park in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I have been exceedingly fortunate to have had such a diverse and rewarding career,” said Walther. “I have worked with some of the best and brightest professionals throughout my career. I have enjoyed working with our Board of Trustees, staff, generous donors, and community partners. This support has enabled me to leave a legacy at the Museum.”

“On behalf of the Trustees, we want to recognize and thank Jim for his extraordinary commitment to the museum and passion for history, science, and STEM education,” said Abdiel Ramirez, President of the Board and Project Manager with Harmonix Technologies. “Jim has made a lasting imprint on the Museum through his focus on education and telling the inspiring story of the atomic age for generations to learn from.”

Significant milestones achieved during Walther’s leadership include:

  • Fostered the potential of the Museum Foundation to become owner/operator of a national museum and managed the careful transition and transfer of authority from federal to private operations, ensuring it was done properly.
  • Moved the Museum physically off of Kirtland Air Force Base after the attacks on September 11, 2001, to improve accessibility and attendance.
  • Launched and led a capital campaign to raise $10M to build the new Museum facility after requesting the 12-acre site on Eubank SE from the United States Department of Energy.
  • Developed the new Museum as The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, with new exhibitions and new programs.
  • Opened the Museum to a larger public audience on Eubank Blvd on April 3, 2009.
  • Grew educational programs such as summer camps, community events, school programs, adult programs, and tours.
  • Started Nuclear Science Week and built it into a robust education and communication effort nationally and internationally.
  • Merged and partnered with The Atomic Heritage Foundation to preserve important historical content for posterity and improve the digital content offered by the Museum.
  • Achieved strong, financially stable, independent operation of the Museum as the largest of its type in the field, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and with Smithsonian Affiliation status.
  • Created a strategic vision with Trustees and staff by planning for the potential physical expansion of offerings through the Museum Archive Center, the National STEM Energy Education Center. Science and History Wings, national programming, and more.