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Author Topic: Change of Command  (Read 1872 times)
Rick
Former Director, Muskogee War Memorial
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« on: July 07, 2014, 12:39:28 AM »

I have a lot to say here.  So, hang on and bear with me as I make it through this hard post.

I am sad to confirm the rumors that I will be leaving the Muskogee War Memorial and USS Batfish this week after 7 and 1/2 years of service.   This has been a bitter sweet journey over the last few month as I am leaving a job that I truly love and will be passing a charge that I have had the pleasure to watch grow and mature from someone's personal club house into the starts of a museum that is beginning to thrive and grow.   

Over the years I have witnesses the Batfish Relief Crew spend many an hour replacing decking in wind, rain, snow, and sun.   I have watched the Chief's Mess volunteer and give the old girl her first paint job in over 10 years.    I was able to partake in Living History events, Scout activities, Crews Quarters restorations, and facilities upgrades.  I worked with great people who have place their time, money, energy and love into this girl in restoration activities, events and in day to day operations.

I cannot say that everything was perfect.   I walked into a field of political land mines, an overwhelming sense of Founders Syndrome, varied and conflicting personalities, and a community that was indifferent to the treasure they held.   The Board of Trustees have helped me clear some of that mine field.  The Changing City Management is starting to realize the gem that they have and the support for the Muskogee War Memorial and USS Batfish is beginning to thrive as the number one rated attraction in Muskogee according to TripIt.com. 

The patronage for the museum has grown 30% in my time at the museum and our revenue has grown 10%.   The museums Management and Board developed the museums first policies and procedures while I was at the museum.   We were able to receive additional education and help from the AMA, AASLH, NavSea, HNSA, OHS and other major organizations that corrected many practices and procedures hindering our museum status.  The Muskogee Foundation funded projects that include a restoration of our gangway, expansion of our storage facilities, improvements to the boats lighting (both inside and out), Archival storage improvements, a resurfaced parking lot, and an A/C upgrade to the main building.  I am even proud to announce that the City of Muskogee has provided an significant funding increase to the museum.

It is  my turn to step back now.   It is time to turn this boat over to a new helmsman.  I look forward to continuing to help the Boat and the Museum continue their mission to honor our veterans, educate our public, and provide experiences to our visitors that will last a life time.   It is my hope that this growth and continues through the decades to come.   My predecessor has a strong background in the technologies and practices in museum management.  I am very confident that he will continue the fine tradition and accept the challenges that I have placed before him.   

To my Board, Volunteers and Staff I would like to say thank you for all that you have done for me in my time here at the museum.  If there is anything that I can do to help this girl, the museum, and the people that I have grown to love (some of whom I will miss such as Dennis Gilbert) I am but a phone call away.  Do not become discouraged by the actions of others she is doing well, and for those who are here for her, she will be there for you: a safe harbor in the rough seas.

Rick Dennis
Exiting Park Director
Muskogee War Memorial

 


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nomad66
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 12:24:28 PM »

Rick,

I want to thank you for the many years you worked on the restoration of the Batfish. My wife, father and myself really enjoyed our tour of the boat. Again, many thanks for all that you have done. Another BZ for you. Smiley
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 12:40:52 PM by nomad66 » Logged
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