The Talkeetna Historical Society has been playing catch up since its entirely new board of directors took over two months ago and has now elected a new president of the board.
Since the new board took their seats, there have been resignations and then un-resignations. Newly-elected president Kym Swift bowed out of her position on the board. That hole left the board scrambling to find someone else. Executive Director of Denali Arts Council, JoEllen Bye, heard about the empty seat and volunteered. Two other members had briefly resigned then changed their minds.
An emergency meeting called last week accepted Bye to the board AND at the same time elected her president of the board. Bye’s long history with museum work seemed a good fit according to several.
Bye accepted the position at their regular meeting Tuesday and told the board that the goal was to get the work done, but to have fun doing it. She said she didn’t want to see the directors feel the stress of trying to do everything at once. The board has been holding special committee meetings to try and seat a clerk for the summer, delaying a decision on a new curator until they can get a handle on their finances.
Park Service personnel, for their part, are set and ready for the season at the museum. Ranger Bob Henry attended the Tuesday meeting and said that his team of 3 is ready for interpretive programs held in the mountaineering room of the museum.
Betsy Heilman took on the clerk position briefly, but is heading outside for the summer on family business. The board of directors is currently looking for someone to take her position.
Residents may see changes in the exterior look of the museum as the summer proceeds, which includes a small garden, improvements to historic cabins pathways and as well as a new renter at the Three Bachelors Cabin. Meanwhile, behind the scenes work for the directors includes looking at insurance, hiring a new clerk, looking into the curator position and getting the museum open and ready for summer.