Platteville Museum Prepares for Seamless Transition as Flesch Steps Down

PLATTEVILLE, Wis., Nov. 30, 2023—The Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums is readying for its next iteration under new leadership as Museum Director Erik Flesch steps down at year’s end. The Museum, which is both a department of the City of Platteville and a mission-driven entrepreneurial organization supported by the Friends of The Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is now recruiting for an inspirational leader to take the lead.

“My tenure as Museum Director has been profoundly rewarding, and I am pleased to leave the organization in its strongest position ever — ready for the next Museum Director to carry the torch forward,” said Flesch, who took the helm of the Museum in 2018 and has served as the only full-time employee for five years. “Reflecting on the accomplishments that our Museum has achieved over the last five-and-a-half years is truly amazing. Our small-but-mighty part-time team with increasingly specialized areas of expertise has navigated a complex organization closer to its destiny as a major regional museum.”

Since 2018, under Flesch’s leadership the Museum has raised nearly $1 million — increasing its annual philanthropic base of support from $30,000 in 2018 to $430,000 so far in 2023. This income has enabled the Friends of the Museum to bridge the gap between municipal funding and fulfilling the Museum’s mission. The Museum was awarded 34 grants totaling more than $250,000 that funded projects supporting education, collections, and facilities thanks to the IMLS, Platteville Community Fund, Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Humanities, Dubuque Racing Association, Mound City Bank Stoll Charitable Trust, FAIC, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Grant County Tourism, and AARP. Plus, nearly $330,000 in Grant County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) CLOSE Public Facilities funds helped the Museum to replace the failing 60-year-old Hanmer Robbins building roof. Additional generous awards from local service philanthropies demonstrated a broad base of local support for museum operations.

City Manager Clinton Langreck expressed a commitment to continuity at the Museum. “Director Erik Flesch has done an exceptional job in his tenure of advancing The Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums’ operations, presentation, and educational mission. Erik’s display of passion, focus, coordination, leadership, and vision has helped shape a very vibrant and engaging atmosphere at the Museum. Under Erik’s leadership the educational components have been designed not only to share community history, but also to incorporate the elements of STEM-D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Design), as they connect relevance and meaning to our present-day community. Director Flesch’s departure will be a challenge for the community as some very large shoes will have to be filled. However, I know Erik has built an operation focused on systems and procedures, and he will be ensuring that there are continuities in place for the next director’s success.”

In a Nov. 16 memo to City Manager Langreck, the Platteville Museum Board, Friends of The Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums Board, Platteville Common Council Members, and staff, Flesch shared humble gratitude to all for the responsibilities entrusted to him, and for the tremendous support offered by the entire Museum community. “It has been an honor to have received the mentorship and friendship of countless Museum stakeholders who invested great time and effort to help me provide vision and leadership for a priceless community asset that will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2024,” said Flesch. “It has been one of the great joys of my life to direct and work alongside a crew of brilliant and fun Museum staff members who make the three-acre campus a safe and welcoming place for lifelong learning.” He indicated that the birth of his first child this summer precipitated his decision to step down, and that in the new year he will begin a role with a Mineral Point nonprofit that will allow greater work-life balance.

Among the key accomplishments Flesch highlighted is that the Museum has unveiled a site and facility comprehensive plan for its future rooted in its past and its potential — the culmination of three years of detailed research and a year-long collaboration between The Kubala Washatko Architects, museum staff and key stakeholders. (It can be seen at www.mining.jamison.museum/plan.) Near-term goals for the next Museum Director include completing a capital campaign feasibility study, planning to prepare for comprehensive restoration of the historic museum campus, and leading a new generation of interpretation about our unique geologic region and 13,000 years of human ingenuity, inquiry, enterprise and development.

“I am so proud of the staff members whose work helps to inspire the acts of profound generosity the Museum has received. It is my sincere wish that as the City continues to prosper and the Museum continues to deliver good news, the community will build on the momentum of success at the Museum and invest in building its staff and advancing campus preservation and revitalization,” said Flesch. “I leave the Museum taking pride in all that we have accomplished together, and am optimistic that the work we have started will advance in good hands.”

The City of Platteville is conducting a national search for a new Museum Director. Application reviews will begin on December 21, with interviews tentatively set for January 5th, 2024. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Information on the Museum Director position and application instructions can be found at www.mining.jamison.museum/team.

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