Sun ‘n Fun President John R. “Lites” Leenhouts has assumed leadership of the Florida Air Museum to streamline efforts at the two organizations and expand the scope of the museum.
The museum, formerly a subsidiary of the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in Inc., had been operating independently under the leadership of museum president and former Sun ‘n Fun president John Burton, whose position was eliminated. The consolidation is intended “to build synergy between the two staffs that had inadvertently become disjointed,” Leenhouts said.
“When you’ve got two presidents and two organizations, you’ve got two sets of loyalties,” he said, adding that bringing the museum back under the Sun ‘n Fun umbrella will allow the organization to reduce the manpower and assets required to support it. He said the decision to part ways was amicable. Burton led Sun ‘n Fun for a decade before assuming the role of Florida Air Museum president in 2011.
The change also is intended to “reconstruct the museum as not a static display of yesterday’s treasures but rather a living, breathing aviation learning experience where the artifacts that are in there are used to help the guests that come through understand the evolution of flight and the potential of it to grow,” Leenhouts said. He added that the educational component will help “take back the sciences” with interactive learning experiences.
The museum is now looking for a part-time curator, with the intent to search for an executive director of education programs, Leenhouts said.