Colorado paleontologist to lead Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The nation’s largest and most popular museum will now be lead by a Colorado man.

The Smithsonian named Kirk Johnson the director of the National Museum of Natural History on Thursday.

Jonson currently serves as the chief curator and vice president of research at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and led an excavation of mammoth bones near Snowmass Village in 2010 and 2011.

L. Wayne Hicks of the Denver Business Journal writes:

In his current role, Johnson oversees a 70-person research and collections division and manages a budget of $3.5 million. His new role will put him over 460 employees and give him a budget of $68 million.

Johnson has been with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science 1991.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough told ABC news:

“Kirk stood out for his ability to communicate his passion about education, his passion about people learning whether they’re young at heart or just a young person,” Clough said. “I know he’s interested in using digital outreach as a means to expand the number of people that museum impacts.”