The McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation has announced a new director as well as a promotion.
Anna Ruxlow, who has served in the positions of director of development and director of alumni and constituent relations at McPherson College since 2007, will take over duties as museum director on July 1. At the same time, long-time curator Brett Whitenack will fill the newly created role of director of operations.
"Anna's development skills and her knowledge of the McPherson community will be great additions to the museum," said Mike Rausch, board president. "We are also pleased to be able to expand the role that Brett has played at the museum while continuing his emphasis on curating."
A life-long McPherson resident, Ruxlow is a self-professed "history nut" with interests in world, United States, Kansas and local history. She has served on various community boards and committees, including the McPherson Chamber and United Way. She was co-chair of last year's 100th All School's Day celebration and completed a degree in business management at McPherson College in 2013.
"Working for McPherson College gave me opportunities to learn more about the history of McPherson and how important it is as we continue to find ways to develop and grow our community," she said. "I feel a deep appreciation for the entrepreneurship and foresight of generations who developed McPherson into the great community that it is and I look forward to being part of carrying on that work."
Whitenack first visited the museum in 1979 and became a volunteer not long after. He was asked to join the staff on a part time basis in 1984, and in 1997 he became facilities manager. In 2007 he was promoted to curator and he has served as interim director since January 1. While finishing a degree in biology at McPherson, his senior research project was on preserving iron-nickel meteorites, an area of interest to many museums. His work won the McPherson College Burkholder Award for excellence in student research. A second degree in philosophy/religion included research on the Plains Indians.
As a museum volunteer and employee for more than three decades, Whitenack's knowledge of the 25,000 artifacts in the collection is extensive. "We know we have something special here," he said, "and I look forward to continuing to tell the stories behind the collection."
A new $3.6 million 28,000 square-foot museum facility was completed late last year, quadrupling the space at the former location, a 1920 mansion on East Euclid. A recently announced million dollar matching challenge gift will help raise funds to complete exhibits and provide revenue for operations.
The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission cost is $4 for adults, and $2 for seniors and students. Members are always free, and there will be free admission with an All-School's Day button on Friday, May 9th. For more information on rental for meetings, receptions and other events, call 241-8464 or visit mcphersonmuseum.com.