Joel Bartsch


An alumnus of Concordia University and Rice University with a BA and an MA, respectively, Joel A. Bartsch has functioned as the president and CEO of the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) since 2004. Immediately prior to that, the Texas native served HMNS as its curator of the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, its director of earth sciences, and a project manager. In his first year as the president and CEO of HMNS, Joel A. Bartsch restructured the organization and returned it to profitability. He subsequently spearheaded a period of significant growth that culminated in the construction of the Dan L. Duncan wing and an energy science education center.

Before joining HMNS in 1991, Joel Bartsch served as the director of the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa. Initially hired as curator, he was promoted after a year and tasked with managing the museum’s daily operations and developing outreach programs and fundraising events. Before that, Mr. Bartsch functioned as the curator of earth sciences at the Lyman House Memorial Museum in Hilo, Hawaii, where he doubled the membership base and developed member programs.

An avid traveler, Joel Bartsch is particularly fond of visiting the Middle East. He has formed dozens of professional relationships and coordinated international exhibits with museums in this part of the world, as well as throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe.