The impressive volunteers of the Dayton Society of Natural History generously devote their time and experience to offer direction and provide the necessary elements to help educate and mold children and adults of all ages. The multiple boards and committees focus on strategic matters and individual projects by making every effort to ultimately ensure that the purpose, plans and policies of the overall organization are achieved. With the vast knowledge and intrapersonal skills our extraordinary Board Members and teams of volunteers possess, they help ensure the success of this community’s treasured community resource.

The essential goal of the Dayton Society of Natural History is to encourage civic leadership through quality educational programs that help students and youth to see the critical link between a sound fundamental education and future employment opportunities.

View the current DSNH Annual Report to the Community.

President and CEO, Mark J. Meister

Mark J. Meister is the President and CEO of the Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH), a position he has held since January of 2000.

From 1989 through 1999 Meister was the Executive Director of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) in Boston, the largest archaeological organization in North America. Prior to coming to the AIA, Meister served as the executive director of four museums over a period of 12 years, the most recent being the Museum of Art, Science and Industry (1986-1989) in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Before Bridgeport, Meister was the founding director (1981-1986) of the Minnesota Children’s Museum, serving Minneapolis and St. Paul. He was also the founding director of the Midwest Museum of American Art (1979-1981) in Elkhart, Indiana, and the first director of the Museum of Art and History (1978-1979) in Port Huron, Michigan. Meister also worked at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (1975-1977), where he was a National Endowment for the Humanities Museology Fellow, and the St. Louis Art Museum (1974).

Meister has a Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Art and Archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master’s degree in Museology from the University of Minnesota. He also holds a certificate from the Museum Management Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.


The Administration of the Dayton Society of Natural History (Boonshoft Museum of Discovery) is comprised of professionals with expertise from finance to STEM Education.

Doug Hull, Chief Financial Officer - Administration@boonshoftmuseum.org

Dawn Kirchner, Vice President, Education – Education@boonshoftmuseum.org

Dona Vella, Vice President, Development and External Relations – ExternalRelations@boonshoftmuseum.org

Lynn Hanson, Vice President, Collections and Research – Research@boonshoftmuseum.org

Board of Trustees

The Dayton Society of Natural History’s (DSNH) Board of Trustees is led by a distinct and dynamic group of volunteers that promote and support the ongoing programs and overarching educational initiatives of its two entities—the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and SunWatch IndianVillage/Archaeological Park.

In conjunction with their volunteer leadership, the Board of Trustees is a non-salaried governing group responsible for long-term strategic planning activities of the Society, physical and human assets, its programs and policies, legal operations accountability and ensuring a continuity of leadership and direction over time.

2016 Board of Trustees

Chair: Brian Prenger
Vice Chair: Vicki Docton
Secretary: Paul M. Vanderburgh, EdD
Treasurer: Cheryl A. Ennis
President & CEO: Mark Meister

Debra A. Brathwaite, Ph.D
Carissa Clark
Rachel Goodspeed
Gregory A. Hoffbauer
Tim Kambitsch
Joan Knoll
Chad Maggard
K. Richard Niehoff
Terry W. Posey, Jr.
Timothy Rice
Nora Stang
Matthew T. Theil
Tracy Young

Associate Board

The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery’s Associate Board, is a dedicated and extremely talented group of community volunteers who serve as advocates and ambassadors to further the Museum’s overall mission and enhance it's public image. The Associate Board assists with the coordination of the Museum’s special events and fundraisers, including the annual Boonshoft Bash, and has established an overarching focus to showcase the Boonshoft Museum as the unique educational venue that it is.

2015-16 Associate Board

President: Alan Nash

Mike & Val Beerbower
Brian & Michelle Clouse
Fran & Barbara Cortez
John & Beth Grubb
Jonathan & Valerie Hawkins
Don Hayes
Toby & Jody Henderson
Teelin & Lisa Henderson
Chip & Nancy Herin
Brian & Monica James
Russ & Katie Joseph
Ryan & Caryn Hoffman
David & Katie Lunne
Jen McCormick
Glen & Angie McMurry
Scott and Kelly Michaelson
Stefan & Sharon Neumeister
Elizabeth Otis
Michael & Erin Rhinehart
Paul & Shawna Richter
Amelia Robinson & Anthony Shoemaker
Mark & Sonja Smallwood
Nicholas Smith & Ann Knerr-Smith
Jeff & Jessica Stickel
Greg & Lilly True
Tim & Amanda Wilson


The Friends are a dedicated group of volunteers and "Friends" of the Dayton Society of Natural History and its two principal institutions - the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park. A casual group of diverse volunteers, they come together to organize various events, including the annual Book Sale and Flea Market and the annual Friends Auction. On occasion, the group also collects to manage concession stands and direct mail projects. The Friends respond to requests made by any Department or staff member, either through volunteer hours, or through the designation of funds, which have been generated by the initiatives mentioned above. Meetings take place 10 times per year on the third Thursday of the month for camaraderie, featured presentations and for the purpose of evaluating requests. Annual membership is $5, payable each September. While any interested person is welcome to participate, only members of the Dayton Society of Natural History have voting rights. Contact John Wolf at 937-275-1617 for additional information or to join the Friends.

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  • Boonshoft Museum

    21 hours ago

    Boonshoft Museum


    Visit the NEW #ShapeShop exhibit to explore colors, letters, numbers & more when it opens this Saturday! #whatsnew… https://t.co/eAiYM8k0N1