Historical society director resigns after nine months

Commute from home in Philadelphia a reason for the decision, he says

April 11, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Nine months into his tenure as executive director of the Historical Society of Carroll County and in the midst of the organization's $2 million expansion, Michael J. Lane has resigned.

Lane, who leaves the job April 19, gave personal reasons for the decision, which he called difficult.

"My time here has been a good experience and the people of Carroll County have been friendly," Lane said. "I have been successful in getting major dollar commitments to our expansion. Our master plan is in progress and should be developed by the end of June. I am leaving the historical society with a good foundation."

Lane and his family stayed in Philadelphia, where he had previously been executive director of the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks. The long commute was a factor in his decision, he said.

"We were surprised at Mike's decision, which centers on personal matters," said Michael Walsh, chairman of the society's board of directors. "He worked hard and was really engaged with our vision."

Lane's departure occurs within a month of the resignation of Jay Graybeal, who had worked at the society for 14 years, most recently as director of the museum and library. Graybeal is now photo archivist at the U.S. Army Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pa.

"Losing two people in two months is difficult, but we will keep plugging away," Walsh said. "We can never replace Jay's knowledge and understanding, but we have a strong core staff left and a dedicated board to make sure things happen."

Board members Joan McKee and Hank Wheeler will serve as acting directors until Lane's replacement is found, said Walsh, who expects the job search to take about four months.

When the post was advertised last year, the society received about 200 applications. Salary and benefits range from $60,000 to $80,000.

"There is an excellent opportunity here for someone," Walsh said. "We have a strong vision and commitment, a great program and a facilities expansion."

The society plans to create a campus in Westminster and recently bought two buildings - Judge Bond House and Cockey's Tavern - flanking its East Main Street headquarters. The society has raised nearly $1 million of the estimated $2 million cost for acquisition, renovation and furnishing of the buildings.

"We have engaged architects and should have our master plan available in June," Walsh said. "About that time, we will announce the plans for construction."

Ticket sales from Designer Showhouse 2002 promise to add more funds to the effort. The New Windsor home, built by town-founder Isaac R. Atlee about 1800, will showcase the work of 18 interior designers from April 28 to May 26.

"We plan to forge ahead with everything that is on our plate," Walsh said. "These departures are difficult, but we all feel great about where we are going."

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