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Front Page » December 16, 2008 » Opinion » Letter to the editor: Support Helper museum
Published 2,169 days ago

Letter to the editor: Support Helper museum


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By SUEANN MARTELL
Helper

Editor:

As many people in the community now know, I have resigned my position as Director of the Western Mining and Railroad Museum. I feel that I was forced to do this by Helper City, but that is not what this letter is about.

While this resignation causes me much sadness, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you for all of your support and kindness over the past six and a half years.

During my time as Museum Director, I have had a wonderful opportunity to accomplish many things that I feel have propelled the museum to national and international recognition.

I have had the pleasure of serving on the museum's building expansion committee and along with the members of that committee under the direction of and with the direct help of the very talented PJ Jensen, have raised over $1 million dollars of grant money for the proposed museum expansion project.

In addition to the money raised for the museum expansion project, I successfully raised over $100,000 in grant money for museum operations, exhibit projects and special events and lectures and also secured the museum as a regional repository of the Utah State Archives allowing local residents access to documents and archives traditionally only available at the state archives facility in Salt Lake City.

I also had the opportunity to win the distinct True West Top 10 True West Town award for Helper for two consecutive years; number 10 in 2006 and number one in 2007. Helper won this award over wonderful towns such as Sheridan, Wyo, Deadwood, S.D., Juneau, Alaska and Tombstone, Ariz. and I am proud to have been a part of that and to host True West editor and celebrity Bob Boze Bell in Helper in 2007.

I was also able to author two books on the history of Eastern Utah, Rails around Helper and the Coal Camps of Eastern Utah with national publisher Arcadia Publishing. These two projects could not have been completed without the support of the museum's wonderful board of directors.

While sadly, the volunteer staff, some of the board of directors and the assistant director of the museum have also chosen to resign their positions at this time, it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life to work with such a remarkable and dedicated group of people. Your passion and knowledge continue to amaze and inspire me.

The residents of eastern Utah, both current and past, and the thousands of visitors that have stopped at the museum over the past six years have also been wonderful. They continue to support the museum through donations, gift shop sales and by participating in special events. It has been my pleasure to get to know you, to learn your stories and to hear your comments.

I look forward to continuing my relationship with you in my future projects and endeavors of which there will be many.

While I don't know what the future holds for the Western Mining and Railroad Museum, I encourage you to still offer your support to the museum, it's mission and for its continued growth. I also encourage residents to call Helper City, the mayor and any Helper City councilmember to let them know how much you care about the museum and to weigh in on your desires for the future of the museum.

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December 16, 2008
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