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Museums at forefront of Murray County commissioners' meeting

SLAYTON -- Murray County commissioners met for a third time with members of the public Monday to discuss the organizational structure and future plans for End-O-Line Park and the Murray County Museum.

The commissioners began examining the two museums after the Museum Assessment Program of Washington, D.C., completed a free review of both the museums in 2012.

Commissioner John Giese explained the county thought reviewing the museums would be helpful in light of a high turnover of End-O-Line Park directors and recent public complaints on spending at the museums.

Many in attendance seemed to agree that additional advertising is needed to increase public interest at both of the museums.

While advertising and social media will be a large player in increasing the attendance at both the museums, Commissioner Bill Sauer cautioned against using large amounts of tax dollars in an area of limited interest.

"When we spend our money, let's spend it for the whole county," Sauer said. "We need to look at what's good for the whole county."

One concern discussed during the meeting was the number of staff at End-O-Line Park in relation to the amount of work. A suggestion to reduce the amount spent on staff salaries and drop the admission fee was made.

Romane Dold, a resident of Currie attending the meeting, pointed out that while it may initially appear that End-O-Line Park costs the county more than the Murray County Museum, it's important to remember a large percentage of those costs go for grounds, building and display upkeep.

"Without those costs, in comparison to the museum, there isn't that much of a difference," he said.

Dold also said the primary question that needs to be considered is whether the museums are a service or need to pay their own way.

While finances played a large role in the discussion, Commissioner Kevin Vickerman reminded the audience the meeting's goal was not only to look at the parks' finances, but to evaluate the organizational structure of End-O-Line Park and the Murray County Museum.

"We need to look at what we should do to make a better park and streamline things," Robert Moline, the board's chair, added.

To that end, the commissioners are considering the possibility of changing the organizational structure of the museums.

One proposed idea includes hiring a museum director who would report to the county board and oversee both of the museums. Each of the museums would have a supervisor overseeing staff and daily operations.

Greater communication between the county and the museum directors was also emphasized, with board members expressing a desire to work more closely with the museums and the historical society.

Commissioners plan to continue the conversation about how the two museums can best be administered.

"We aren't going to make any decisions today," Moline said. "We just want to get some discussion going and see what everyone wants to do."

Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.

Alyson Buschena
Alyson joined the Daily Globe newsroom staff after spending a year in Latin America. A native of Fulda and graduate of the University of Northwestern, she has a bachelor's degree in English with a dual concentration in Literature and Writing and a minor in Spanish. At the Daily Globe, Alyson covers the crime beat as well as Pipestone and Murray counties, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. More of Alyson's writing can be found at
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