New museum director takes reins

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The first director of both the Genoa Courthouse Museum and the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center took the reins on Monday.

Dr. Mary Ellen Conaway said she is looking forward to working with the many museum volunteers.

"I think this is a very energetic organization with some great volunteers and we have some high aspirations," Conaway said.

Conaway arrived in Carson Valley on Dec. 18 from Madras, Ore., where she was a consultant and director of the Museum at Warm Springs.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and the University of Pittsburg, she grew up in Barstow, Calif.

She is married without children and is living in Gardnerville.

"Her selection reflects our goal of seeking accreditation from the American Association of Museums," says Marlena Hellwinkel, president of the society.

The two museums were part of the first step accreditation process in April 2001, which focused on general operations, and the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers have made strides towards the second step, which focuses on the management of the artifacts and archival materials on exhibit and in storage.

Conaway says this is a major reason she was attracted to the position.

"It offers many opportunities to work with people who aim for quality, professional museum management, programs and public service. The hard work already evidenced, the goals set by the board and the hard working staff and volunteers are all tremendous assets for the museums," she said.

Conaway comes to Carson Valley with more than 30 years' experience in museum work, including 15 as a museum director in Oregon, Wisconsin and Arizona.

She also currently serves on the Board of the National Association of Museum Exhibitors, a standing professional committee of the American Association of Museums.

For two years, she served on the board of the Oregon Museums Association and has served on national boards and committees for the American Association of Museums for more than 12 years.

She has been an evaluator of museums on behalf of the American Association of Museums for about 10 years and regularly arranges panels or presents papers at the regional and national museum meetings.


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