Keynote address MA12 19 April 2012
Jim Marchbank held senior management positions at Science North in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, starting in 1982 as Director of Development. He became Chief Executive Officer of Science North in 1987 and served in that capacity for 24 years before stepping down in May 2011. Under his direction Science North grew to be the largest tourist attraction in Northern Ontario, encompassing an internationally recognized science centre, a Special Exhibits Hall, a the F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery, a 2D/3D IMAX Theatre, and a digital dome planetarium. A separate earth sciences centre, Dynamic Earth, opened in spring 2003 and then went through two expansions with the most recent addition opening in 2009. In March 2011 Science North reopened after a short closure with the most substantial capital renewal of visitor experiences the science centre had undergone since opening in 1984. Science North is Canada’s 2nd largest science centre located in Canada’s 23rd largest metropolitan area.
Jim Marchbank was President of the international Giant Screen Theater Association (GSTA), an association representing educational large-format or IMAX theatres, in 1999-2000. He was a member of the Board of the Association of Science and Technology Centers from 1993 to 1999, and served as a member of the Organizing Committee for the 2008 World Congress of Science Centres. He was the first President of the Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC).
Mr. Marchbank was executive producer of a large format film, Gold Fever produced by Science North and released June 1999. It was funded largely by gold mining companies. He was co-executive producer of the large format film Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees released in May 2002. It was a collaboration of three science centres with corporate and American government funding. He was Executive Producer of Wings Over the North: A 4D Bush Plane Adventure, a $2 million productionreleased in June 2004, a collaboration with a small aviation museum. Mr. Marchbank was the Executive Producer for Mysteries of the Great Lakes, a large format film directed, produced and distributed by Science North and released May 2008.
As CEO of Science North Mr. Marchbank helped develop North America’s only science centre-university joint post-graduate program in science communication with Sudbury’s Laurentian University. The program has now graduated over 60 students with post graduate Diplomas in Science Communication who are working in science communication roles around the world.
Science North added a large external sales unit under Mr. Marchbank’s leadership. This unit sold exhibits, programs and services to science centres, government agencies and corporations around the world earning resources which were invested at home in Science North. The unit led Science North into partnerships with others that helped create major travelling exhibits for Science North which have toured North America and been enjoyed by millions of science centre and museum visitors.
In March 1993, Jim was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. He was named one of 50 Distinguished Graduates recognized by Laurentian University on its 50th Anniversary in 2011. He is the recipient of an Honorourary Degree from Thorneloe University in Sudbury and a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Association of Science Centres. Upon stepping down as CEO of Science North he was made an Honourary Life Member, the centre’s highest recognition.