Doug Roberts, Ph.D. joins from WorldWide Telescope Project and Adler Planetarium
His newest adventure begins Nov. 1, when he joins the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History as its first chief technology officer. Van Romans, president of the Museum, chose Roberts to lead the development of the Academy of Digital Learning, a pioneering initiative to harness technology to advance the learning experience in fun, inventive ways. “I can’t wait to get started,” Roberts said. “We have a unique opportunity. The Fort Worth Museum is poised to be the leader in using digital technology so guests can experience the wonders of science and history in exciting new ways.”
Roberts, 51, comes to Fort Worth from Chicago, where he has been the director of the WorldWide Telescope project for the American Astronomical Society. Working with researchers at Microsoft, he also served as the architect for the project, which brings the latest astronomical data and discoveries to the public.
Before that, Roberts served in several roles at the renowned Adler Planetarium, culminating as associate vice president and chief technology officer. He has also been an adjunct associate professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University. He earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Oklahoma and was a postgraduate fellow at the University of Illinois.
Roberts first visited Fort Worth two years ago as a presenter at Learning Crossroads: The Digital Future, a national forum on digital learning staged by the Museum. “Doug impressed us then with his enthusiasm and expertise,” Romans said. “When we started to look for our first technology chief, everybody we consulted had him on the list of top candidates. He has a national reputation, and we’re thrilled to get him.”
In his new role, Roberts will oversee the creation of immersive and interactive experiences for guests in the new Academy of Digital Learning. He will also work with the Museum’s curators and designers to use technology to enhance learning experiences throughout the Museum, in the Noble Planetarium and online. In addition, he will work with the Museum’s education team to create an array of resources and programs for educators and other professionals interested in digital learning.
In anticipation of his arrival, the Museum’s education team is already exploring opportunities to help elementary and secondary students and teachers use the Academy’s resources to enhance STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education. The Museum’s public programs team is also brainstorming opportunities to upgrade and add programs for adults. “The Museum has a long history of innovation in the field of hands-on learning,” he added. “Now, Van and the board have cast a bold vision that would keep us at the leading edge. My job will be to gather the resources and build the team to make it happen. I’m lucky to be joining now, as we’re preparing to make a giant digital leap.”
The Museum was established in 1941, is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. Anchored by its rich collections, the Museum is dedicated to lifelong learning. It engages guests through creative, vibrant programs and exhibits interpreting science and the history of Texas and the Southwest. For more information, visit www.fortworthmuseum.org.