Museum looking for new manager this month
Society chairperson admits there is much work to do to secure confidence of community
The Olds Historical Society (OHS) will be advertising for a new museum program manager this month.
This position will be offered as a part-time opportunity although the number of hours has yet to be decided, said Donna Erdman, society chairperson.
“We want someone to develop programs,” said Erdman. “We are looking for someone with either museum experience or has an interest in the museum.”
The new program manager will be the first paid staff member to run the museum since its coordinator Anne Lindsay was forced to leave last December due to a funding shortfall. On May 28, town council agreed to give the society, with conditions, $30,000 to get the museum’s financial, organizational and operational affairs in order through a business plan. The funding infusion by the town was set for one year.
“Part of the expectation is to have a sustainability go-forward business plan,” said Barb Hill, the town’s director of community services and liaison for the OHS. She said some of the conditions for the funding included the museum “regrouping” its governance model and becoming a more “functional body.
“They have a lot of hard work to do. They have a lot of work to do to draw the community into what they are doing. They are optimistic about their ability to do that,” said Hill.
That plan identified a need to recruit a part-time manager who could achieve the vision of the museum over the next three to five years, provide professional development opportunities and add three to four more community members to its board. Currently, there are five members on the board. While the society’s bylaws do not set out a minimum number of board members it stipulates there can be no more than 12.
“There wasn’t anything in the agreement we hadn’t talked about already,” said Erdman. “They were all things we wanted to do and things a board is supposed to do.”
As far as increasing the board’s membership, Erdman said the priority is to find someone to fill the role as treasurer. She also said more volunteers are needed.
“I don’t know how to explain this to the community but we need their help. We need their bodies,” she said.
In the meantime, Erdman and the board expect the museum’s affairs to improve once more volunteers and board members are secured to work alongside the new program manager.
She admitted there is a lot of work ahead to make the museum sustainable and a consistently attractive venue for locals and out-of-towners to want to visit and support.
“I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think it could work,” said Erdman, who admitted she has no answers as to how and why the society, particularly the museum, found its financial and organizational affairs in such an unenviable state.
“I can’t answer that. I wasn’t here. I really don’t know,” she said. “We are looking at where we are and we are getting out of it. I don’t want to deal with the past. I only want to look to the future.”