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Rock County Historical Society starts national search for new leader

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
June 6, 2009
— The Rock County Historical Society is looking for a new executive director, its executive board announced Friday.

The goal is to have someone hired by early August, said Duke Ellingson, board president.


Applications are due Friday, June 22.


Executive Director Madge Murphy said her retirement was announced at the society's annual meeting in April.


"They're really looking for a museum person who has a bachelor's or master's degree in museum studies, which I don't. They're also looking for someone stronger in grant writing than I am, and there could be somebody out there who is a perfect candidate," Murphy said.


The society will advertise with the American Association of Museums and in local news media, Ellingson said.


Murphy is paid between $25,000 and $30,000, Ellingson said.


Murphy said she gives half of her salary back to the society.


Ellingson admitted the society probably will have to pay a higher salary to the new executive director "because we're asking more from this person as it relates to education and experience than what Madge has."


The executive director is the chief executive officer of the Rock County Historical Society, serves as primary spokesperson for the organization, manages day-to-day operations, leads fundraising efforts and directs staff, the release said.


"I love the organization and it's hard to leave," Murphy said.


She has led the society for almost four years. She first got involved when a board member asked if she'd open her home—then on Columbus Circle—for the organization's historic walk fundraiser. Murphy later served on the board, was board president for three years and was interim director twice.


She said she's proud that she restored confidence in the historical society, expanded the volunteer base and restored member-only events.


"I think we are back in the right direction as a museum and serving the community better than we have, Murphy said.


She praised the board and staff.


"They're wonderful, solid and working for what's best for the society," she said.


Murphy will train the new executive director.


Although she's active in the Veterans to Foreign Wars Past 1621 Auxiliary, she's anxious to get back to her involvement with the Salvation Army and Women's Fund.



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