New director named for Fort Missoula museum


MISSOULA, Mont. - The following is a press release from the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula:

The Museum Board of Trustees has chosen Mr. Matthew Lautzenheiser as the next Executive Director of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. Matt currently lives in northern Ohio where for most of the past ten years he has served as Executive Director of the Dover Historical Society. That organization operates the J. E. Reeves Home and Museum in a rural setting. The 17-room Victorian house is somewhat similar to Hamilton's Daly Mansion and Kalispell's Conrad Mansion. Matt also has worked as a museum historian in a living history setting at Ohio's Hale Farm and Village. He holds a master's degree in history from the University of Akron.

Matt's wife, Kelly, has an MBA in international business/finance and has extensive experience working as a finance officer for several firms, including Diebolt. Growing up, Kelly traveled extensively with her family and lived in Latin America for several years. Recently she served as her company's chief financial officer in Spain, and the family lived in that country for 18 months where Matt completed work on his second book. The couple has two sons, Douglas, age 10, and Benjamin, age 8. As a lifelong historian, Matt is an avid reader. His chief outside interest is distance running, and he will be competing in the Boston Marathon later this spring. He is also a diehard fan of the Cleveland Indians.

Mr. Lautzenheiser's appointment has come after an extensive national search and lengthy screening process. In the 23 years of Dr. Bob Brown's tenure as Executive Director at the Historical Museum, our Museum has grown vastly in status and stature as a fully accredited institution. As a result, the Search Committee had a number of highly qualified applicants with impressive credentials to choose among. The final decision was not easy, but both the Search Committee and the Museum Board of Trustees were unanimous and enthusiastic in their choice.

Matt is very impressed with our Museum and is especially looking forward to working with our staff. Running a museum complex the size of Fort Missoula (neither too small nor too large) has always been his career goal.

Mr. Lautzenheiser will begin work at our Museum on July 1. During the interim following Dr. Brown's retirement in mid-April, Museum Assistant Director Carolyn Thompson will be serving as Acting Director. Our annual Fourth of July celebration should provide our new director with a fitting introduction to our Museum and its many enthusiastic supporters.