Lindy grew up on the western edge of Cass county in the small town of Eagle, Nebraska.
As executive Director of the Omaha Children’s Museum since June of 2002, Lindy Hoyer brings 26 years of passion for reaching out to children through children’s museum work and continues striving to inspire young people to play, explore and learn. Today marks her 10th anniversary as the executive director of Omaha Children's Museum.
"Depending on the day and the activity, my favorite place in the museum changes," said Lindy. "Right now I love the Creative Arts Center where kids and adults are truly engaging in making, creating and tinkering. I love the energy surrounding the opening of each new exhibit upstairs and how the whole staff gets involved in creating the magic behind the space. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing the excitement of the balls coming out of the hopper in the Super Gravitron And when I want to be reminded of how children develop daily, I just need to walk into the Imagination Playground and see a toddler reaching for a block and it gives me chills to think of all that is going on in that one moment."
During her tenure as Executive Director, Omaha Children’s Museum has seen fantastic growth and accomplishment from hosting blockbuster traveling exhibits to completing a $6.6 million capital campaign and renovation of the museum’s permanent exhibits and seeing attendance soar to over 270,000 annually.
Lindy's favorite part of her day at the museum is during the daily morning staff meeting, called Huddle Time. She likes seeing the smiling faces of everyone who is excited to come to work at the children's museum each day.
"I have always cared about kids," she says. "Ask any child growing up in Eagle Nebraska from 1975-1986 and they’ll either tell you I babysat them or taught them to swim. Ever since I was old enough to be trusted with a child, I found myself drawn to helping and nurturing children. As a theater student in college, my favorite productions were the children’s theatre shows and I even did an internship at the Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater (now called The Rose) in college. Kids don’t carry the baggage that we adults gather in life. It sounds cliché to say that children are our future, but they are. As a mom, what is most important to me with my son is that he is kind, acts with a conscience and makes people around him happy. Yes, I am proud that he does well in school and has developed interests of his own, but what makes me proudest is when he decides that his mother’s day gift will be to clean the family room for me. Because of my interest in kids at an early age, I always thought I’d be a teacher. In college my teaching passion changed from the elementary ages to high school due to my interest in theatre and literature. Once I found this world of informal education, I realized that all my passions came together in one neat package – kids, education and creative expression."
When asked about her interest in early childhood education, Lindy says we need look no further than how personalities are formed and how we all have an effect on that formation.
"Our little beings are formed at such early ages and stages of their lives," said Lindy. "Through places like Omaha Children’s Museum, we can be a significant influence on developing confidence to try, fail and try again without the pressure of testing, we can support children in their natural development by encouraging creative and imaginative play and we influence how hopeful they are at what lies ahead in their futures. I also think it is important that we get messages to the parents who visit with their children how vital their roles are as early teachers and encouragers of the individual development of their children. I had a great early childhood experience being raised by rather intuitive parents in a small community where basic values of tending to neighbors, caring about others and helping out were just naturally bred into me. I see OCM as a place where those community values can be modeled and observed to inspire a new generation of kids who develop with a positive self-image and with a strong sense of community."
Lindy participated in the inaugural Noyce Leadership Institute along with 17 science center executives from across the world. She has served on the board of directors for the Association of Children's Museums (ACM) and participates in Qm2 Roundtable for Museum Executives. Locally, Locally, she serves on the Omaha Sister City Association Board and serves as a member of the Economic Development Commission for Nebraska
If Lindy could be any fictional character, she would be Elmo. She says that he exemplifies love. Her favorite children's book is The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton.
"A friend gave it to me when I was pregnant with my son," she said. "It’s a great story about realizing what is most important in life and my son Marc was in love with that little house! Something others may not know about Lindy is that she hosted a radio show at KZUM in Lincoln for four years and her favorite color is green - but lately finds herself attracted to orange as well."
"I guess the primary color palette is not different enough for me!” she said.
Lindy has guided the museum through the years with grace and vision, and encouraging children to become uniquely their own person is something she has inspired all children who come to the museum to pursue.
Please join us in thanking Lindy for all she has given to Omaha Children's Museum by leaving a congratulatory comment or favorite memory below.