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Nelson Museum Archives and Gallery’s new director embraces the role

It’s been one week since Jennifer Dunkerson, the new executive director of the Nelson Museum Archives and Gallery, took on her new role and she says the transition has been seamless. 

Dunkerson took over for the former director Astrid Heyerdahl, who resigned in September. She formally entered the role on Nov. 27.  

Dunkerson is originally from Ontario and moved out west in 2009 to serve as the executive director at Revelstoke’s Railway Museum. She relocated to Nelson in 2017 when she accepted a contract position with Heritage BC and the Columbia Basin Trust as a heritage planner. 

She says she wanted to get back into the industry and was confident that her experience would bring value to the museum, which is why she applied for the job. 

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“When the position here became available, I had a real desire to get back into museum work. Plus, I know this facility and organization a little from my involvement on various levels through Heritage BC and serving on the board for a short time. It just seemed like a great fit for me.” 

Her first big undertaking, according to Dunkerson, will be revamping the second-floor exhibit. She says it’s a big project, but one that she’s excited to be a part of. 

“[It’s] one of the things that I’m really looking forward to because it’s going to lead to so much more. The second-floor exhibit areais our permanent exhibit that tells the story of Nelson and the region’s long history.” 

Over the next year and a half, Dunkerson says she and her team will be engaging with multiple community members and groups to gather information for the second-floor exhibit expansion and ensure the organization accurately encapsulates the region’s diverse and extensive history. 

She says the museum board, staff, and community have been welcoming to her as she begins her new endeavor. 

“I’m looking forward to getting to know people in the community even more through this work. I feel like I am going to get to know Nelson even better. So I just encourage everybody as well to take some time to find out more about what we are doing here at the museum. Come and see us. It’s well worth a visit.” 

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