The Museum at Campbell River’s board of directors has found a new executive director, and although she is new to the position, she certainly isn’t new to the Museum.
Sandra Parrish, who has been acting director for the past months, has worked at the Museum for more than 20 years.
Bruce Izard, board chair, says, “Those who work with Sandra appreciate her depth of knowledge, commitment and leadership and the board was very pleased to make this appointment.”
Parrish brings a wealth of experience to her new role. She was first employed at the Museum through a series of temporary grants and was hired for a permanent position in 1991.
“In many ways I have grown up at the Museum,” Parrish says of her lengthy career.
In the early years, her work covered cataloguing photographs for the archives, processing incoming artifacts, computerizing the collection records and providing support wherever needed.
“I was fortunate during these early years to work alongside some excellent mentors such as Jeanette Taylor and Irene Ross who encouraged me to participate in a range of training opportunities,” Parrish says. “These training opportunities, coupled with hands on experience, provided me with a good foundation in current Museum and Archive practices.”
This translated into her eventual role as the Museum’s collections manager.
When Parrish started, the Museum was housed at Tyee Plaza. After much planning and fundraising, the current location was opened in 1994.
“Community members who attended the official opening of the “New Museum” in 1994 might remember the cavernous building that needed to be filled with exhibits,” Parrish recalls.
It was certainly an enormous undertaking to both move artifacts and then to design and build new exhibits to fit into the new architecture. In this, Parrish played a valuable role and she eventually became responsible for managing the overall installation of the Museum’s permanent exhibits. She acknowledges that it was not always an easy task, and could not have been accomplished without the Museum’s professional staff, strong leadership and a strong network of community support; a community which, in fact, engaged in the process as various groups found their connection to the region’s history with each different theme that was being developed.
Lesia Davis, who was the Executive Director during this period (1998 – 2012) says, “I am so gratified to see Sandra take on this role as ED of the Museum at Campbell River. She brings impressive skills to the next phase of leadership of this multiple award winning Museum and I think it is an ideal fit – for the Museum, for Sandra and for the community.”
Parrish says she’s looking forward to her new role.
“With each phase has come new challenges and learning opportunities,” Parrish says. “I look forward to this newest phase in my career at the Museum. Throughout, I have been fortunate to work with an exceptional group of people from staff to volunteers and Museum members, and now in my new role, with the Museum board.
“One of the biggest challenges that face the Museum community today, aside from the on-going funding concerns, is how to keep pace and stay relevant in a quickly changing society,” Parrish says.
“One solution often offered, is that museums need to have a personal, meaningful connection with the community. I believe this means maintaining an on-going dialogue with the community and I look forward to ensuring that the Museum at Campbell River continues to be actively engaged and responsive to the region.”