The Saratoga Sun -

GEM hires new director


Courtesy photo

The Grand Encampment Museum (GEM) is pleased to announce that a new full-time director has been chosen and brought on board.

Judy Stepp, a five-year Encampment resident, started her journey as the first full-time director for the museum on Nov. 4. She served as the temporary director during the 2013 summer season, after leaving her profession as a preschool teacher and director in Walden, Colo.

Stepp has also served as a part-time director and member of the board of directors for the GEM. She brings enthusiasm, community ideas and a love of the GEM and Encampment area to her position, according to a press release.

"I do love this job, and it's always a highlight to be at the museum and get to be a tour guide once in awhile. I am really excited about the activities and opportunities coming to the Grand Encampment Museum in 2014," Stepp said.

Stepp said her duties as full-time director include working with the community, planning, marketing, inventory, collections, retail, education, exhibits, activities, grants, fundraising and social media, and taking care of staff and the museum building. She is excited for next year's "Journey Stories" traveling exhibit, which is a Smithsonian exhibition showing how evolving mobility changed America, and how different forms of transportation helped it grow.

"It talks about the mobility of America and how different things drove people to different parts of America, and it will cover things such as how the depression drove people to move, as well as the boom and busts across the country," she said. "The exhibit will travel amongst different museums in Wyoming starting in May, and it will come here in October. There are some great relationships being built between the museum, and I am loving the opportunity to finish what the GEM community started over the summer and will expand on, with collaboration between the Smithsonian Institute and Wyoming Humanities Council."

Stepp said she is also looking forward to working on exhibits with students and other members of the local school district.

"I'm excited to work with the school system on ideas of how we can work together," she said. "The board is also working on an interpretive plan to change exhibits in the Culleton Building and Livery Building, which houses old transportation."

Aside from being surrounded by rich history, Stepp said she feels blessed to work at the GEM because of its strong community ties.

"I really appreciate the museum and knowing that the community helped build it," she said. "It was put together by many people with great pride from the community."

For more information or to speak with Stepp, call the GEM at 307-327-5308. The museum is also expanding its retail shop hours, which will be Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., from Dec. 1-22.


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