Ben Terwilliger, 2011

Executive Director, Eudora (Kansas) Area Historical Society
 
In 2011, while I was still a student in the Museum Studies Program at KU, I was hired to work with the Eudora Area Historical Society (EAHS). I became the first, and to date the only, professionally paid museum employee to work with the EAHS. Prior to my tenure with the EAHS, the museum was in desperate need of professional management. I faced extreme challenges from the start of my tenure. In April  2011, I was informed that the building that housed the EAHS would be demolished within one month. Therefore, I was asked to find a temporary home, and a new permanent home, for the Society. We found a temporary home at an abandoned school in May 2011 and relocated the entire museum to that location. I also began efforts to find a permanent home for the EAHS. In 2011, a very generous woman offered to donate her family's building (720 Main Street) in downtown Eudora to the EAHS. The only problem with the generous offer was that the building was severely dilapidated. Nevertheless, we accepted the offer and began efforts to rehabilitate the building. 
 
Over the course of the next eight years, I led the efforts that resulted in the equivalent of over $600,000 being invested into the property, which has transformed 720 Main Street into one of the best preserved historic buildings in Douglas County. The EAHS opened to the public at 720 Main Street in 2015. While simultaneously managing the rehabilitation of 720 Main Street, I also led the efforts to transform the EAHS into a modern and professionally operated museum. I provided the EAHS with leadership, clear and obtainable goals, a vision, and implemented professional museum standards. Since 2011, I have overseen the administration, finances, programs, exhibits, collections, field trips, visitor services and the social media/online activity of the EAHS. I have enjoyed every minute of my  tenure with the EAHS. It has been an honor and a privilege to help the EAHS develop into a pillar of the Eudora community. 

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