Tanya Durand

Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma

Tanya Durand has dedicated her life to children. The same year she graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in art history, she took a job at the Tacoma Art Museum. A few years later, she was offered the position of executive director at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. She’s been there ever since — 21 years, during which she has led the museum to impressive accolades: the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce New Tacoma Award and the Association of Children’s Museum Promising Practice Award. In 2016, she was named the University of Washington Tacoma Nonprofit Leader of the Year.

She has become a true leader in the museum industry worldwide, serving as vice president of initiatives on the National Association of Children’s Museums’ Board of Directors, as a member of the University of Washington Tacoma’s Urban Advisory Board, and chair of the Pierce County Arts and Culture Coalition. When she isn’t changing the lives of Tacoma children, you can find her at her Day Island home with her husband, son, and “Day Island Dylan” their golden retriever.


Favorite Places

To Relax
Being in Point Defiance Park, taking in the trees, the views, and the fresh air, always lowers my shoulders.

To grab a Drink
Can’t beat the view at Chambers Bay!

Tanya Durand fav spot

Rachel Samanyi

For dinner
My favorite dinners are those that we prepare for friends and family and serve on our patio.

to Travel
I’ve loved my two trips to Italy and can’t wait to go again. My husband is Italian, and we’d like to trace his family’s roots.

Inspiration Board

Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, and Radical Candor: How to be a Kick-Ass Boss without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.

Tanya Durand reading

Courtesy St. Martin’s Press

Favorite Quote
Maybe not a quote but a wise saying: “Are you listening to understand, or to respond?”

Favorite App
Just got a new one — Wunderlist. Feeling super organized!

Favorite movie
I love Ocean’s 11.

Tanya Durand favorite movie



Do you have any kids? I’m so lucky to have Chase (11) in my life. He’s my husband’s son, and I just adore him. My new favorite title in life is “bonus mom.”

What is your favorite exhibit or program at the museum? Voyager is my favorite. The museum was designed to help children build their creativity muscles, and going on a pretend voyage appeals to me. Is it a bird, a ship, a rocket, a plane … you choose. Any destination becomes possible.

What is an upcoming exhibit or event that you are really excited about? The Museum’s Symposium on Children as Citizens has quickly become my favorite event of the year. It’s a day where community leaders, thinkers, and doers gather to contemplate the simple, yet deep, question: “What is it that we hope for our children?” How does reality match up against our answers, and how can we better align the two?

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 8-year-old self? Follow your instincts toward compassion and grace. Fight your tendencies toward self-judgment. Buy good moisturizer.

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