Tuesday, August 1, 2023

A Message From The Executive Director

One of the key reasons that I accepted the position of executive director of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center this past April is YOU. Because you ARE the Center. I have a deep respect for the power of community-based marine science centers. They catalyze change by drawing on the collective strength and skills of the community.

There are so many people who care deeply and inspire me. For example:

Linda Dacon has been on the board for almost two decades. She is the picture of a true lifelong learner who makes time to share the excitement of discovery with others, including me.
Toni Davison's curiosity about the marine environment is infectious. Visitors are drawn in by her enthusiasm for what's under the microscope, how whales feed, or other burning questions. As am I.

Mariah Vane is an artist/scientist. From her days as an AmeriCorps (2018-19) with us, to her recent work creating the kelp exhibit creatures, inspiring conservation through art is second nature to her.

Lorenzo McCleese began volunteering with PTMSC when he was just 8. Now 18, he is heading to the UW to study environmental science (and is the winner of the 2023 PTMSC scholarship for HS seniors).
Ruby, at just 2 years old, visits the aquarium almost every weekend with her grandparents. Her favorite book is a tide pool field guide. Future PTMSC executive director!

My connection to PTMSC really began in 1998, when founders Libby Palmer, Judy d'Amore, and executive director Anne Murphy, approached the Burke Museum in Seattle where I worked. They were in search of a little collegial input and moral support as they renovated a building on the beach at Fort Worden. 

Before I knew it, I was bringing a car load of fossils to the Low Tide Fest! I was drawn to PTMSC's spirit of curiosity and habit of questioning, the sense of purpose that permeated the work, and, truth be told, the singing of silly sea songs.

Since becoming the program director in 2017, I have come to know this organization deeply, from the literal skeletons in the closet (various whales, seals and otters), to the talented and committed staff. I believe that inspiring awe of the Salish Sea and acting in service to a healthier marine environment are equally critical. PTMSC does both every day.

Like you, PTMSC knows that climate change is our biggest threat. Reaching people with a message of hopeful action is more important than ever. Creating a powerful visitor experience in the Flagship Landing building in downtown Port Townsend is all about effecting greater change. 

This vision motivates me as we take the next challenging steps—moving the aquarium and museum from Fort Worden to downtown, while also adapting our programs to operate during this transitional period. This transition will include:

  • Careful planning to move the live animals off the pier (date TBD)

  • Retrofitting the museum or Flagship Landing building with accommodations for live animals 

  • Modifying our educational programs to operate outdoors or in offsite locations

  • Using the Flagship Landing building downtown to prototype exhibit and program ideas and get community feedback

I invite you to support PTMSC as we tackle this next stage of growth together. We can’t do it without you. Please consider making a financial gift this summer. These funds will help pay for the first steps in the journey from Fort Worden to downtown.


Diane Quinn

Executive Director

P.S. Thanks to a generous supporter, you can double your money by helping us meet a challenge match of $10,000 by August 31. Please donate online at ptmsc.org to spread the message of hopeful action for a healthy ocean.