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Sheila Grinell

Sheila lives her life the same way she came into this world:  ready to go!  Born in a taxi in New York City, ready to travel and conquer the world.


Sheila grew up in the Bronx, and went to The Bronx High of Science.  After graduate school in 1969, Sheila joined with the famous Frank Oppenheimer to create The Exploratorium, the seminal center that has been widely emulated around the world.  From 1987 on, Sheila served as a consultant about science communication to corporations, professional associations, museums and television producers.  She developed a week-long executive education program for people starting science centers and wrote the leading book in the field.  Sheila is a passionate supporter of women, women in STEM, and is an innovator, implementer and advocate for the concept of interactive science museums. 


Sheila is known in the museum world as an innovator.  She co-developed the concept of interactive science museums at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and she spearheaded the re-opening of the New York Hall of Science.  In addition, Sheila has consulted with museums all over the world, most recently in Saudi Arabia.


Sheila came to Arizona in 1993 to lead the creation of the Arizona Science Center, serving as President and CEO.  Matching a twenty-million dollar commitment from the City of Phoenix, Sheila and the trustees worked together to raise over twenty million dollars to open the Arizona Science Center, and we might add, ON TIME, ON BUDGET, with 300 exhibits, a giant screen theater, a planetarium and other amenities.  Annual attendance reached over four hundred thousand during her tenure.


Post-retirement Sheila launched a new career as a novelist and is working on her third novel, set in Arizona. Her second novel, “The Contract,” is based on her experience of consulting in Saudi Arabia.


Ms. Grinell has created a lasting science legacy for Arizona.  Many consider her the mother of science education in Arizona.  Sheila fought the good fight  and our children are the better for it.  Because of Sheila, Arizona children succeed in science and science technology careers, paving the way for a brighter future for all of us.

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