Shaping Sheridan history

SHERIDAN — Nathan Doerr, director of the Sheridan County Museum, will be leaving the facility later this month to take a new position with the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne.

“I’ve thought over the years that it would take something big to pull me away from here because really this has been my pride for the last seven and a half years since the day I walked in,” Doerr said. “It is definitely bittersweet to leave. I think the museum is in a great place right now and it is a great time for a new person to step in and take it to a new exciting place.”

Doerr has been director of the museum since January 2006. Under his leadership, the education program at the museum has expanded significantly. Perhaps the best-known program he started is Tidbit Tuesdays.

The program was initially created as a once-a-month program during the summer months of June, July and August, but the popularity of the program necessitated increasing the offering to every Tuesday during the summer months.

“We geared it toward ages 5 through 10, but we consistently have younger and sometimes older participants,” he said. “History in general, especially for younger kids, it can be unapproachable and non-interactive and I think having a program in existence that included history and made it fun for kids, there was obviously an interest in it.

“I enjoy seeing them get excited about it because for me, history was never that engaging,” he continued about the appeal of teaching history to children.

“I could never get all that excited about history in the classroom, so seeing the kids I work with get excited to explore the history in some kind of non-traditional ways, outside the classroom, hands-on, talking to some oral historians and listening to what life was like, they really get into it. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you are doing your job right,” he added.

Doerr said his new job will allow him to continue and expand his work with students in teaching Wyoming history. In particular, he will work extensively with local fourth-grade students who are required to begin their studies of statewide, rather than just local history.

“I wasn’t actively looking for another job, but I was made aware of the job,” Doerr explained. “It really was a dream job, a larger institution and getting back to a focus on non-formal education. It is exciting. The response from the community I have received so far, the sad looks and the congratulations and the thanks, it is all very humbling. I know that when I walk out of here on the 21st and turn in my keys, it won’t be the end of my involvement. I’ve told everybody to call me (if they need assistance). There is never an ideal time for something like this to happen. We are always going to have exciting things going on up here.”

Sarah Ligocki, who has been a part-time assistant curator at the museum, will assume Doerr’s responsibilities while the Sheridan County Historical Society Board, which operates and oversees the museum, conducts a search for a new director.
Doerr’s last day at the museum is June 21.

About

Christina Schmidt

Christina Schmidt has worked at The Sheridan Press since August 2012. She covers a variety of feature stories as well as stories related to local schools.

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