SACO – The Saco Museum hopes to have a new director hired by mid October.
Jessica Skwire Routhier, who held the job for nearly four years, resigned earlier this summer.
Linsey Pilon, president of the board of trustees at the Dyer Library/Saco Museum, said five applicants have been interviewed already and described the applicant pool as “a very interesting range of candidates.”
Reached at home this week, Routhier said she left the museum because she needed to find a better balance in her life.
“As the museum director, I was working 24-7,” she said.
Routhier said the museum was “a great place to work,” and is proud of what she accomplished during her four years on the job.
“I feel I made some positive changes and left the museum in a better place,” she said. “A lot of big initiatives happened while I was there. I’m especially pleased with what we were able to do in terms of preservation.”
Among the recent initiatives Routhier tackled as the museum’s director is the ongoing “Moving Panorama of Pilgrim’s Progress” exhibit and the associated programming.
Another job she took on soon after coming on board was a complete overhaul of the museum’s archives and collections, which, Routhier said, resulted in a broader representation of both local history and the museum’s artifacts.
Also included in that overhaul were a series of much-needed capital improvements to the museum and the exhibit space, she said.
Another initiative Routhier took on was the creation of the biennial exhibit of modern art by local artists, called the Mill-Ennial.
“That was something I saw through from conception to completion,” she said. “I think it was a really positive thing for both the community and the museum.”
Pilon called Routhier a “really fine director who in many ways put the Saco Museum on the map.”
She praised Routhier’s writing ability and said her exhibit planning and execution were “all wonderful. She really brought a new professionalism” to the museum.
Pilon said the trustees are seeking “a generalist who will be tuned into the community history and the strengths of the current collection.”
In addition, she said, the museum needs someone with the ability to plan exhibits and events “that will engage the whole community.” Pilon also said the new director should be “a strong manager with a vision for the future who is comfortable raising funds and doing grant writing.”
Leslie Rounds, the executive director of the Dyer Library/Saco Museum, said she and the board of trustees were “absolutely and totally delighted” with Routhier’s efforts at the museum and that they were “extremely disappointed” when she left.
Routhier, Rounds said, “has a broad base of knowledge of art, history and artifact, a fine eye for exhibit design and is a talented writer -a skill that’s really critical in her field. She was an extremely hard worker, accomplishing a monumental quantity of projects while here.”
Rounds said the museum director really “does it all,” from planning, designing, researching and installing exhibits to publicity, customer relations and grant writing, among many other duties.
“We miss Jessica, but we are excited about the candidates we’ve interviewed,” she added. “We know the new director will put their individual stamp on the thriving Saco Museum and that the creativity, energy and enthusiasm that person will bring to the job will move the museum forward.”