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Self-described “museum geek” Mel Glover took the reins of the Churchill County Museum last week after a nationwide search to find a director to lead the museum.
“I have a passion for history and telling the stories behind the names and dates to connect with historical people,” Glover said, attributing his love for history to his grandmother who said a bad weather day is a good day for the museum.
The stories he enjoys telling bring to life the human aspects behind the artifacts seen in museum displays. As an example, he tells the story of working on a PBR (patrol boat riverine) exhibit in his last position, where he met veterans who took those boats into combat and were still very much affected by their war-time experiences. Being able to tell their stories as they relate to the boats helps museum patrons learn about the men behind the metal display.
Glover comes to Fallon from Dubois, Wyoming where he most recently served as curator of public history at the National Museum of Military Vehicles. Prior to that, he served with the Wyoming Division of State Parks and Cultural Resources, National Parks Service at Yellowstone National Park and Clark County (Ohio) Historical Society.
Although Glover has a master's degree in history, he never wanted to be a teacher. Instead, he directed his passion into public history endeavors such as living history exhibits and museums rather than the classroom.
Speaking of classrooms, Glover has a favorite age group among children: 5th graders. Why? Because they are willing to learn, he said. “If I tell you that you are an honorary 5th grader, it is the highest compliment,” he said.
As a public historian, Glover meets folks where they are so that their understanding and appreciation of history can be widened. He says when viewed closely, history helps us understand our immediate lives and when viewed from afar, history shines light on regional, national and world history.
The appeal of becoming director at the Churchill County Museum was easy to define for Glover.
“I was drawn to the level of professionalism here and I understand the value of having trained museum professionals who know about the proper paperwork channels and processes behind the scenes. We have that here in Churchill County and teamwork is baked into their DNA.”
Glover was also drawn to Churchill County by his love for local history which is abundant in the Lahontan Valley.
Being on the edge of the 40-mile desert here appealed to Glover who enjoys the California, Oregon and Immigrant Trails that pass through the area. The Pony Express Trail and the fact that Mark Twain spent time in northern Nevada and California further sealed the decision to accept the position in Fallon.
For their parts, Churchill County leadership and the Museum Association found Glover’s vast array of knowledge which has helped him focus on the various aspects of museum life was a good fit for the Churchill County Museum.
Glover and his wife, Annette, are settling on the west side of Fallon in a rural neighborhood.
Churchill County Museum Association contributed to this story.
Photo caption: Museum Director Mel Glover raises the flags in front of the museum this week.