The Exploration Place Museum + Science Centre’s CEO, Tracy Calogheros, was honoured with the outstanding career achievement award at the CASCADES, awarded annually by the Canadian Association of Science Centres September 23.
Calogheros has been with The Exploration Place since 1994, becoming CEO in 2003. In the entire history of the organization, there have been only two people at the helm.
Calogheros is passionate about advancing truth and reconciliation, repatriation, and relationship-building with Indigenous peoples. She has carefully and respectfully built a strong relationship of trust and friendship with the Lheidli T’enneh Nation, an example of how a regional institution can think, work with, and represent the First Nation on whose territory it is located.
She is a leader in her industry and an advocate internationally for science literacy, innovation, and culture. She has brought the message of advocacy for the sector across the nation, working with people from all levels of government and from within the industry to advance the goals of science centres and museums. She has served on numerous local, regional, provincial, national, and international associations and committees and has worked with people from all levels of government and from within the industry to advance the goals of science centres and museums.
On March 13, 2020, Calogheros made the difficult decision to close The Exploration Place to the public, making it the first organization in the community to do so. This decision spurred public conversation about the importance of following the science and the examples that science centres can serve as to the general public. She has invested significant time and intellectual capital into advocating for science centres and museums and their role during both a public health crisis and a climate crisis. She has started conversations about how to properly resource museums and science centres to continue the important work they have always done while rethinking what experiential learning and hands-on discovery look like in a post-COVID-19 world.
The workplace culture Calogheros has worked hard to build and protect is largely unparalleled. In 2019, The Exploration Place won the Chamber of Commerce Award for Top Workplace Culture. Calogheros understands the importance of workplace culture for employees to be productive, feel supported and valued, and gives them the flexibility to creatively achieve their goals.
“The CASCADE award for outstanding career achievement captures the incredible impact Tracy has made both on The Exploration Place and the advancement of museums and science centres in Canada,” says Peter James, President of The Exploration Place Board of Trustees. “Under Tracy’s leadership, The Exploration Place engages the curiosity of community members, shares the importance of science literacy, and facilities important discussions about our shared history.”
Calogheros often says that someone doesn’t just wake up at 18 years old and decide to be an engineer; an affinity for the arts and the sciences grows over a lifetime of experiences. This has been the basis for the work of The Exploration Place—to make science accessible, non-intimidating, and most of all, fun—planting a seed in the minds of future scientists.