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SLCHS Interim Executive Director Announced, 2023 Board Election and Updates

Pictured: SLCHS Interim Executive Director David Benson

Photo by Tim White, Communications Coordinator

The St. Louis County Historical Society warmly welcomes David Benson, BA/BS, as the Society’s Interim Executive Director. He has a Certificate in Nonprofit Administration and is an experienced facilitator and organizational coach. David previously served as Interim Executive Director at Community Action Duluth and Interim CEO for Lake Superior Zoological Society. At the Damiano Center for over ten years, David was Development Director then moved to Executive Director.

David will work closely with the Society’s skilled and experienced Board of Governors, which elected its new officers and welcomed new members at the Annual Meeting of the Membership in April*. Serving as Society officers are: Ronald Hein, BS in Management Science, President; Jeffrey Wencl, JD, Vice-President; Steven Matthews, PhD, Secretary; and Daniel Streu, BA, Treasurer.

New and returning Board members are: Leone Graf, MS in Historic Preservation, Past Board President; Michele Hakala-Beeksma, BA, former Board Member and Past Board President, a member of the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa, and is the Financial Officer for the 1854 Treaty Authority; Brandon Hartung MEd, Vice President of the Duluth Preservation Alliance among other professional organizations; Karen Keenan, EdD, Co-Chair for the American Association of University Women and Co-Chair for Nordic Center Board of Directors; Timothy McLoughlin, BA, is retired as the Director of Operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland; and Linda Nervick, sole proprietor of Crepes Amour.

The returning Iron Range Affiliate Representatives to the Board of Governors are: Celia Domich, BA, Ely-Winton Historical Society; Mary Keyes, BA, Hibbing Historical Society; Charles “Chuck” Palmquist, Certificate in Electrical Maintenance and President of Minnesota Museum of Mining; Mary “Mickey” White, Sisu Heritage, Inc.; Jeanne Maki, JD, Virginia Area Historical Society; and new member Kathy Siskar, Tower-Soudan Historical Society. The County Commissioners will appoint their Board representative and an alternate in the near future.

For the remained of 2023 and into 2024, the Board of Governors will focus on the following tasks: using the $385,000 State Grant funds for the redesigned mining exhibit; redesigning Medal of Honor Row within Veterans Memorial Hall Gallery; moving 20,000+ artifacts from the Society’s collections in the Depot to Wells-Fargo Bank funded by St. Louis County; and continuing to search for an Executive Director.

*CORRECTION: The Annual Meeting of the Membership was held on April 25, 2023. The Board Election was conducted at a Special Meeting of the Members on May 25, 2023.


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