Museum director leaves Fallon for NYC

Teri Hedgpeth accepts position with Madison Square Garden Entertainment

Steve Ranson/LVN
In September and October, the Churchill County Museum presented a six-part series on water in the Lahontan Valley. From left are former museum Director Teri Hedgpeth, retired Truckee-Carson Irrigation District director Erie Schank and Education Curator Gretchen Felte. Hedgpeth resigned in April to take a position with the Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.

Steve Ranson/LVN In September and October, the Churchill County Museum presented a six-part series on water in the Lahontan Valley. From left are former museum Director Teri Hedgpeth, retired Truckee-Carson Irrigation District director Erie Schank and Education Curator Gretchen Felte. Hedgpeth resigned in April to take a position with the Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.


After a year of tragedy and the coronavirus pandemic, Churchill County needed a director to move the museum forward.
In a little more than a year, the new director and current museum staff responded from both the limitations imposed by COVID-19 and the unexpected death of its former leader, Dan Ingram.
Since she was hired in April 2021, Teri Hedgpeth listed her goals to increase attendance, membership and programs at the museum. A year after her hire, however, Hedgpeth announced her resignation to take a position as the director of archives for the Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. in New York City.
Hedgpeth’s background and professionalism as an archivist appealed to the MSG.
“The opportunity came, and they required her to be in New York City in three weeks,” said Sue Chambers, a longtime museum board member and chairwoman.
During the museum board’s April meeting, Hedgpeth notified the members of her job acceptance with MSG. Chambers said the museum board was stunned. With the county searching for a new director, the commissioners approved a temporary contract for Chambers to serve as the interim director.
As far as County Manager Jim Barbee is concerned, Hedgpeth is what the doctor ordered more than one year ago.
“Overall, she was fantastic,” he said of the former director. “She really moved the museum forward and created a level of excitement with the programs.”
When the Churchill County commissioners tabbed Hedgpeth to become the new director, her goal was to implement change and look for a challenge. Prior to coming to Fallon, she was director of Archives and Curator of Collections for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee from 2012-20. During that time, she led a building campaign for the committee’s new archives.


Steve Ranson/LVN
Former Churchill County Museum Director Teri Hedgpeth speaks to members at a luncheon in March.

 

Hedgpeth, whose family lives on the East Coast, jumped at the opportunity to work her magic at a small museum and to return to the West.While Barbee is disappointed to see Hedgpeth leave Fallon, he said she had the opportunity to work with MSG Entertainment.
“We were blessed to have had her, and we wish her well,” Barbee said. “She is a talent who was obviously sought after.”
During her year in Fallon, Barbee said Hedgpeth did a tremendous job in reorganizing and reclassifying the archives.
“She had some really good suggestions on organization what we’re working on,” Chamber said. “She made some good suggestions with the programing, and she had a different perspective and a different vision. She really refreshed what was going on.”
Additionally, Chambers said Hedgpeth will be living in the same time zone as her family. She said a daughter lives North Carolina, and her husband lives in Florida.
Chambers, however, said each director has brought a different perspective to the position.
“We benefit from that in the long run,” Chambers pointed out.
Attendance slowly increased to pre-COVID-19 pandemic numbers, and Hedgpeth tirelessly worked to increase the museum’s membership. A testimony to her efforts occurred in March when the annual membership luncheon filled the seats. She worked with both the city and county on events and special project such as the Nite at the Museum.
“Attendance went beyond my wildest expectations with over 500 enjoying the museum in a short two-and-half hour span,” she said.
During the year, Hedgpeth organized and solidified collections such as the photograph collection. The curators received new office spaces, and a planned storage system is bringing together all archival records.
“Artifacts will also receive better preservation with planned art rack storage systems and more shelving added to the annex,” she said.
Patrons began returning after the governor eased COVID-19 restrictions. Audiences attended a six-part series on water during September and October 2021, and the events began to attract more people. Hedgpeth said the museum had a great attendance at the Christmas Open House and spring events this year.
“That was a team effort,” Hedgpeth said. “Gretchen Felte, our education curator, conducted outreach at area schools and events all through the year; our curator team created new exhibits and really assisted with the beginnings of refreshing the museum with the addition of virtual reality and touch tables to exhibits; and finally, Cathie Richardson, the museum store manager, did a fantastic job of reading the community and purchasing items that had a broad appeal and added numerous items to our online store.”
Chambers said Hedgpeth integrated very well with the community.
“She wanted to bring more of the military into the museum,” Chambers said. “There was a focus on that. She was also working with more partners in the community.”
Chambers said Hedgpeth also worked with the county and shared some of the museum’s farm implements for the new Rafter 3C events center at the fairgrounds.
The museum began working on an exhibit to coincide with Memorial Day. War Comes Home: The Legacy opened in early April and offers an intimate perspective into a soldier’s homecoming with the thoughts and emotions of veterans and their families. A four-part series with military authors coincides with the exhibit for four Wednesdays in May.

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