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Wright Museum looking for new Executive Director

MARK FOYNES waving from a Wright Museum vehicle during the 2010 Independence Day Parade on Main Street in Wolfeboro. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
April 14, 2011
WOLFEBORO — The departure of Mark Foynes from his position as Executive Director of the Wright Museum came as a surprise to many, who first came to realize the board's decision to let him go when they read his letter of goodbye printed in the Granite States News March 31 edition. Readers called for an explanation.

Having none, we contacted Roy Ballentine, Chairman of the Board, who agreed to answer questions by email. While not at liberty to discuss personnel matters, Ballentine allowed that Foynes "did much to improve the museum during his tenure. He helped to improve the relationships between the museum and the local community. He was very effective in working with the volunteers who actually keep the museum running. He organized educational programs to support the museum's mission, and he assisted in fund-raising to help the museum to meet or exceed its annual goals."

Though Ballentine stated that the board is appreciative of Foynes' contributions, it is in the final stages of its search for a new Executive Director. There was no mention of any discord.

Foynes' thanked the public in his recent letter, saying, "During my four years as

the Wright Museum's executive director, so many of you have touched my life. I could not have been successful without you and the legions of people like you who are passionate about the Wright Museum. Your enthusiasm has been essential to the museum's efforts to preserve and share the stories of America's Greatest Generation for generations to come." He made no mention of any future plans.

The museum is in "very good shape" financially, said Ballentine. Looking ahead, he elaborated, "We are planning to expand our level of programming, and to expand the museum's influence beyond the local area. For example, we are recruiting board members from other regions, and working on expanding our donor base beyond the local area."

Staffing at the museum will continue at its current level, according to the chairman, who noted that the board hired a full-time collections coordinator in recent months to "enhance the Museum's capabilities, refresh its exhibits, and to expand its programs" and the board "will be working with the new Executive Director to develop and implement a broad range of programs and special events to promote the museum's mission."

Judging by public reaction, Foynes will be missed. He credits the community for making "the Wright museum the vibrant community resource it is today."

With membership revenue more than doubled since 2007 and museum admissions up 50 percent, according to the former director, the board has a solid base of support upon which to build.

Martin Lord Osman
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