Search under way to install new leader by February has yielded more than 20 candidates

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - The Crook County Historical Society will hire a new Bowman Museum executive director.

Who will replace Gordon Gillespie as executive director of the Bowman Museum?

Members of the Crook County Historical Society in partnership with Crook County are seeking a qualified candidate to take over the museum executive director position when Gillespie retires Feb. 10.

Historical Society President Jan Anderson said they already have 20 to 30 applicants, and they hope to have the new executive director on board sometime in February.

"Our plan is to review all the applicants and do a phone interview to narrow it down and then do either Skype or in-person interviews with the final candidates, which will be in January sometime," Anderson explained.

The search committee includes Anderson, two other Historical Society board members, a Bowman Museum staff member, and a Crook County human resources representative.

They began the search a few months ago, advertising for the position through the county website as well as through multiple museum job websites.

The museum executive director is a county employee and reports to the Historical Society Board and Crook County Court.

"As with any county executive director position, there's required education experience as well as preferred," Anderson pointed out.

The executive director must have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in museum studies, history or a related field as well as a certificate in museum studies or a related field. The candidate must also have experience in museum management as well as leadership experience in fundraising, grant writing, marketing, financial management and operations, and possess an ability to work cooperatively with community leaders, board of directors, staff and volunteers.

Once the search committee chooses a candidate, they will present the applicant to the county court, which will then make the final decision.

When the new director is in place, he or she will hit the ground running, guiding the museum and its continued growth into the future.

In 1971, the A.R. Bowman family in Prineville donated their historic bank building to the Crook County Historical Society for use as a museum. Since then, through public and private support, the Bowman Museum has not only added an adjacent History Center but also created a collection of pioneer history and organized programs, serving more than 10,000 people annually.

Gillespie started working Saturdays at the Bowman Museum in August of 1992 and became director on June 15, 1993.

"With the purchase of the Hans' property, there's the possibility in the next five years to consider what to do with that," Anderson said, noting that there are ideas for a possible capital expansion project which would provide space to host more traveling exhibits as well as increased space for display and storage of the museum's artifacts. They also hope to increase digital technology use in the future.

"It's all unknown," Anderson said. "It'll depend on what the new director's vision is."

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