Berry's last day will be
Wesley has volunteered at the museum since 2006 and has overseen the organization of the Harvest of History, a living history presentation each September.
Berry's career with the museum began in
During Berry's first year as executive director, the pants factory building was still being renovated.
"I think the log cabins were here," she said. "The rock shelter wasn't painted. It was sort of a shell. They still had plywood and plastic down on the carpet. It was a lot of running back and forth that first year I was here."
Since then, Berry said, the cultural center has grown by leaps and bounds.
At one time, for example, the museum had a tiny genealogy room. When it moved to the factory building, the genealogy room was larger but still isn't as big as it should be, since many visitors come to do genealogy research.
"Probably close to half the people come here with genealogy in mind," Berry said. "We're the only major source of genealogy research material."
Berry said meeting people has been her favorite thing about the job.
Berry recalled a couple who came to
"They were just so appreciative," she said. "That's the fun part. When someone tells you that they enjoyed what they saw and they were just blown away.
"We've had a lot of people to tell us that. They are just amazed that a small town like
Wesley, meanwhile, previously worked as an adjunct professor at
Wesley began volunteering at the museum because it was something she's always wanted to do.
"My mother was a teacher and a lot of our vacations were to museums and historic sites and places like that," she said. "To me, local history is something that makes history more meaningful, I guess, because you can see the people. You know what the people have been through to get here."
Her love for the museum inspired her to apply for the executive director's position.
"I care about this place and I want to see it succeed," she said.
Wesley has no plans to make any immediate changes at the museum.
"I think right now my goal is to just be trained and get as much wisdom from Gayle as I can possibly get and from there we will see," she said.
The search for Berry's successor began about six weeks ago. Wesley was among eight candidates considered for the position.
"She's volunteered there for about seven years and of course she's headed the Harvest of History and has done a wonderful job on that," Wells said. "She just seemed like the right person for the job. The passion was a big thing for me."
At one time, the executive director of the museum was an employee of the city of
The city, which owns the museum, does contribute to the position, she said.
"The city still gives us money yearly for personnel, but she's not considered a city employee. That went by the wayside a couple of years ago," Wells said.
The position pays
A reception for Berry will be from
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