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Lisa Shull ('85, '91M)

Dream builder

Photo: Lisa Shull

Lisa Shull ('85, '91M) makes dreams come true for thousands of Harrisonburg children. Seven years ago Lisa inspired a cadre of volunteers who together started Harrisonburg Children's Museum. The former elementary school teacher and her husband Brian, director of economic development for the city, discovered children's museums when their own two children were small. They wondered about Harrisonburg, and what began as a "what if?" has become a community jewel. "Children learn by doing and play is essential to healthy development. A children's museum is the perfect environment," says Lisa, the museum's executive director and the driving force behind its institution. "It's a place where children can follow their interest, set their own pace, interact positively with parents and caregivers and discover new opportunities and talents." Now in its seventh year, HCM hosts more than 35,000 visitors annually to its location on Harrisonburg's Court Square. Visitors include school children on field trips, families, visitors to the valley — as well as officials from other cities who've seen what HCM has done for Harrisonburg's downtown revitalization. By late 2010, the museum will move down the street to a new location currently being renovated. The new space will more than double the museum's capacity and unleash the dreams of more and more children.

"Dream big and follow your vision. Don't let every small detail sideline your ability to move forward. Surround yourself with lots of great people and encourage them to add their gifts to make the project the best it can be."