The new executive director of the Animas Museum has taken possession of the keys to the front door and is on the job. Carolyn Bowra is a La Plata County native who is returning to Southwest Colorado after working with Greeley Museums as head of interpretive services.
We are delighted to welcome Carolyn to La Plata Historical Society, President Beth Green said. She is a historian with a strong business sense, local roots and great organizational skills.
Bowras family reaches back generations in the area, with Animas Valley pioneers on her mothers side sporting names such as Sharp and Ridenour, while her fathers side are Bowras and Millesons, who homesteaded from Aztec to Cedar Hill, N.M. Born in Durango, Bowra attended Needham Elementary School until her family moved before she entered seventh grade.
She earned a bachelors degree in history from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, following in her mothers footsteps. Bernice Bowra taught history at Durango High School before the family moved away, and her father, James, worked at Fort Lewis College.
Bowras job in Greeley included supervising a staff of five and a go-to group of 10 volunteer docents and tour guides. She also organized special events and fundraisers.
In addition to her work at the four Greeley Museums, Bowra has a business managing mineral royalties for clients and previous experience in retail. She also is a floral designer.
She is the first to admit she doesnt have the local historical knowledge of Robert McDaniel, who worked his last day as executive director on Friday after 33 years as founding director.
I have done a lot of recreational reading, Bowra said. Im a huge Duane Smith junkie. Ive read all of his books except the one on baseball. The funnest part of the job will be learning the history.
Green said Bowras experience is just what the museum needs.
Her extensive experience with recruiting, training and coordinating volunteers will be invaluable, as will her enthusiasm for making history come alive for everyone in the community, Green said.
The new director learned McDaniel was retiring from her parents, who returned about five years ago. They heard about it at a social event.
This all happened badda-bing, badda-boom, Bowra said. Its all kind of surreal.
She is starting her new job with a place to live and a little jet lag.
I bought a condo here for my daughter while she was attending Fort Lewis, Bowra said. She graduated in May, and I guess it was lucky that I couldnt sell it with the real estate downturn, so I had a place to live already.
The jet lag is the result of her recent trip to the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea.
A week ago, I was in Rome, she said. Ill catch up on my sleep later.
She hasnt had much respite since arriving in town Thursday, but shes already having fun.
Learning this job is like asking for a drink of water and getting hit with a fire hose, she said with a laugh.