Rachel Teagle, the executive director of The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego, announced today she will resign this fall after more than four years at the helm. The museum, which originally launched in La Jolla in the early 1980s and then moved downtown, hires contemporary artists to make work that is more approachable to kids and families.

“It has been a difficult and very personal decision to find the ‘right’ time for my family to move on,” she said in a statement.

Teagle said she will remain the executive director at the museum through this fall, opening a new long-term exhibition called “TRASH.” She also said she will help the museum find her replacement.

After a long rocky financial patch that left the museum homeless and behind on fundraising deadlines early last decade, the museum reopened in mid-2008 in a new building at Island Avenue and Front Street. The museum broke an agreement with a charter school that was expecting to move in, later making space available to visiting classes.

From my colleague Emily Alpert’s 2007 story about the decision not to house a school at the museum:

“The space is custom-designed for the school to fit in there along with the museum,” said Gary Smith, president of Downtown San Diego Residents Group. “I’m not sure that the museum becomes a viable entity without the school there, and I’m not sure the school is viable separate from the museum.”

The museum still had $10 million left to pay on its construction loan when it moved in, but the statement today said the museum is now completely debt-free and owns its building free and clear. Teagle cited the fundraising campaign as a major chapter closed in her work at the museum.

A 2008 Union-Tribune story includes a timeline of the museum’s moves and interactions with downtown redevelopment officials.

I am the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with me on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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