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Museum board names Cathy Jelsing new executive director

By Staff | Feb 18, 2011

The Geographical Center Historical Society board of directors has named Cathy Jelsing executive director of Rugby’s Prairie Village Museum. Jelsing, who has operated her own public relations and writing business in Rugby for the past five years, will assume her duties April 1.

In addition to managing daily operations, Jelsing will lead initiatives to catalog the museum’s collections using computer technology; develop the museum’s membership and volunteer base; draw more bus and student tours to the museum; and generate funding through grants and donations for programming and capital support.

“The board welcomes Jelsing to the position,” says Randy Myers, historical society board president. “And we hope everyone joins us in welcoming her.”

Before establishing CJ Communications in Rugby, Jelsing spent four years as senior features editor for NDSU University Relations in Fargo. She gained her grant writing experience at Fargo’s Trollwood Performing Arts School. A longtime journalist and newspaper editor, she was employed by The Devils Lake Daily Journal and later by The Forum in Fargo from 1978 through 2001. During the museum’s off season, Jelsing will continue to operate her own business.

“Ever since my first visit to the Prairie Village Museum I have seen it as having great potential, not only as a tourist attraction, but as a community gathering place,” Jelsing said. “I’m eager to get to work and to gather ideas from others on how to make the museum a place not only to preserve the past, but to celebrate our heritage in the present.”

Jelsing replaces Pam Schmitt, who resigned as the museum’s operations manager this winter.

The museum opens for the season on Saturday, May 28. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

A good time for the public to show its support of the museum is by attending its annual pancake breakfast and bake sale Sunday, Feb. 20. The breakfast runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Eagles, Rugby. Family and individual memberships/passes will be available for purchase at the breakfast.

The Prairie Village Museum was founded in 1964. The village includes many turn-of-the-century structures, including private homes, a blacksmith’s shop, church, jail, two schools, an authentic railroad caboose, and a fully stocked general store. The extensive museum collection includes antique cars, farm equipment, household items and clothing.

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