SHERIDAN — Last month, the Sheridan County Historical Society and Museum welcomed Mikayla Larrow as the new executive director, filling the vacancy left by John Woodward at the beginning of the summer. After covering aspects of the position throughout the summer, the staff is excited to have Larrow on board, as many of the director duties include fundraising and organizing future exhibits.
“She provides guidance and direction,” museum employee Ariel Downing said. “What are we going to exhibit; what are we going to change? She’s good at gift shops — that’s one of her strengths.”
To gain a position as director of the Sheridan County Museum, Larrow first earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in museum studies, then a master’s in public administration while working three seasons, or two and a half years, at a small museum in Saratoga.
Now with more education and experience behind her, Larrow longed for change.
“I decided I wanted to challenge myself a little bit more, and I started looking again,” Larrow said. “I honestly did not want to leave the West.”
As a native Coloradoan, Larrow felt no desire to move coastal with her experience. And that experience she brings to Sheridan will help multiple functions of the museum.
“Her museum expertise and nonprofit management expertise are really going to be valuable,” Downing said.
While down a director, the staff filled in temporarily.
“I don’t have that many hands,” Downing said. “I could keep the bills paid and the lights on and assist people as they come through the door, do some reports for board meetings, but I wasn’t the director.”
Woodward relocated to the Wyoming Veterans Museum in Casper for a job that better fit his focus on western military history, according to Downing.
Larrow is excited to use her skills to enhance the museum into a more interactive experience for multiple generations.
“I would really like to become a place of fun learning,” Larrow said. “When people say, ‘Let’s go to the Sheridan County Museum,’ (I want to ensure) everyone’s excited, there’s something different, there’s something new, the kids have fun, the adults have fun.”
Larrow anticipates expanding the Tidbit program to keep options fresh for parents or guardians with young kids and need a free entertainment option.
“A lot of times, when we think of history, we think, ‘Oh, a bunch of dead people and dates I have to memorize in a new city,’” Larrow said. “The fact is that history is very much alive, and it’s very colorful.
“It allows you in many ways to be your own detective, and you get to look at things through various perspectives and lenses and discover something you might not have noticed there before.”
The new director also highly anticipates the upcoming work to celebrate and honor women in history for the 150th celebration of women’s right to vote in Wyoming.
As the museum heads into its winter hours, Larrow will continue to ease into the position of full-time executive director.