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Numerous applicants for Lander museum vacancy

Dec 26, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

The new director will replace Carol Thiesse, who was terminated in August.

The Fremont County Museums Board had received at least nine applicants for the directorship of the Lander Pioneer Museum before the recent application deadline.

The new director will replace Carol Thiesse, who was terminated by the board on Aug. 22.

Museums board chairman Tom Duncan said the board has advertised the position locally, regionally and nationally. He said candidates' backgrounds vary in experience and set of skill levels.

"I expect to see a surge (of applications) before the month is over," Duncan told his fellow board members. Duncan said the deadline was extended through Nov. 30.

Because of a limited budget and the board's desire to have top applicants visit the county, Duncan said the candidate pool will likely be pared down to a few, perhaps the top three.

He said he hopes to have a reception for the selected individuals so that the community can meet them.

The new director should be hired by January, Duncan added.

Fremont County Pioneer Museum employees continue to maintain the operation and keep the Lander facility's doors open.

"Are you tired?" board member Steve Banks asked employee Connie Shannon.

"Yes, I'm tired," Shannon said with a smile.

She said employees have been working to get the museum's database back up and running.

Other news

- Members approved Banks to be the new board vice president after Eileen Urbigkit resigned in August. Carol Chidsey had been appointed last month to the vacancy left by Urbigkit. Banks previously served as secretary, so the board assigned Jon Lane to that position.

- Lander resident Kathy Weger asked how she could locate a family artifact she thinks is at the Pioneer Museum. Duncan said employees are working on records for the database, and he told Weger her question should be sent to a director. Duncan suggested Weger work with Shannon or a director at another site until a Lander director is hired.

- The board heard from representatives from each of its museums.

Museum of the American West board treasurer Scott Estep said MAW is planning to do maintenance on some of the facilities during the winter months.

MAW is a separate entity in Lander next to the Pioneer Museum.

Estep said a new storage unit is in the works and is being funded through grant dollars.

MAW's Bonnie Wilhelm said the museum is considering canceling its annual Pioneer Village Days because of low turnout. She said the July event needed to be more organized and advertised.

Estep said the usage of the old school house on MAW's grounds continues to climb.

MAW closed for the season at the end of October, and Wilhelm said it is set to reopen in May.

Dubois director Katrina Krupicka said her museum's summer program was a success, and she thinks it's because the staff found a formula that works. She said the museum is working to have more exhibits.

Director Loren Jost said the Riverton museum modified its hours to noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

"I think our schedule is pretty good right now," Jost told the board. "I feel strongly we have to be open at least one day of the weekend."

- Duncan said the museums board will seek a new county liaison since Pat Hickerson was not re-elected to the Fremont County Commission. The new commission will be seated next week.

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