Washington Western Lands Museum director flourishes in new position
RAVENSWOOD — Life changed on Sept. 8 for Faith Walker and she hasn't looked back one day since.
The Dayton, Ohio, native started her first job that day as the new director of the Washington Western Lands Museum located at Riverfront Park.
After graduating from Miami University this year, it was time to find a job. Walker majored in anthropology and art & architecture history, which paid off big time in the job hunt. She also minored in archaeology and museums & society.
Every single day there is a new adventure for the new museum director.
Museum takes off with the help of government officials
Last May, Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $1,056,666 from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support four West Virginia organizations, 58 AmeriCorps members and 10 summer associates across the state, according to the senator's website. Walker's position was made possible by Capito's funding. This is the first time the museum hired a paid, full-time employee.
The museum was previously run by volunteers through the Jackson County Historical Society.
Katrena Ramsey oversees the museum director and was pleased to get the position filled this fall.
"Having a full-time person that is trained is a first for the museum," Ramsey said. "We had several applications for this position but hers really stood out to me because of her previous experiences were, and I knew it was what the museum needed."
Ramsey noted that Jackson County has historical roots connected to United States history.
George Washington founded Ravenswood through a land grant. He survey the land and made a notation in his journal with his findings.
"It is a historical little area and a proud community," Ramsey said. "I think all communities should be proud of themselves. We're trying to get things that are here and are trying to revitalize our downtown. Having this museum finally open has been great and it's been just such a big prominent building here as part of a step in the right direction."
The history in Ravenswood keeps Walker's job a continuous learning experience.
Workflow blossoms in day-to-day life
Walker is almost a month into her job now and each day is a new adventure.
"Day-to-day changes frequently which is one of the things that I really like about the position," Walker said.
Walker typically works her shift from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but keeps the museum open from noon until about 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
"I've really been starting off with collections management and conservation issues," Walker said. "I'll start my day seeing how to preserve old photographs and go over what to look for in a museum vacuum. Taking care of the collection is priority number one before I can start curating or interpreting."
One of the bigger takeaways from Walker's job experiences so far was getting to meet alumni from the Ravenswood High School Class of 1954, who were visiting as part of a class reunion. Walker took away the day as an amazing opportunity that she thoroughly enjoyed.
If anyone is interested in signing up as a volunteer, contact Katrena Ramsey at 394-532-5268.
— Matthew Sokol (he/him) is a journalist with Jackson Newspapers. Story ideas? I want to hear them. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @MatthewSokol95.