July 11, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 27

Museum chief hired

The Haines Borough Assembly approved a new director for the Sheldon Museum Tuesday.

John Hairr, currently site manager for the House in the Horseshoe State Historic Society, will assume his duties in August, said Jim Heaton, president of the the museum’s board of trustees.

“He’s well educated,” said Jim Shook, vice president of the Board of Trustees, “with a wonderful background in museum management.”

Hairr graduated from University of South Florida in with a bachelor’s degree in history and minor in geography. He received a master’s degree from North Carolina State University in agricultural education.

The museum, seeking a new director after former director Jerrie Clarke’s resignation, was looking for a candidate with experience in archives, administration, conservation, grant writing, and management.

“We had six really good candidates and narrowed them down to two really, really good ones,” Heaton said.

Hairr has previous experience working with historic sites, as well as “a strong living history background,” said Shook. He dealt with Civil War reenactments that included thousands of people.

“We’re already thinking how we can use that experience,” Heaton said.

Hairr also has written several books and essays about the Revolutionary War.

Hair’s writing extends beyond historical topics. Other books of his are “Encounters with Great White Sharks: Florida and the Gulf of Mexico,” “Caribbean Monk Seals: Lost Seals of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea;” “Great Hurricanes of North Carolina” and “The Cape Fear River Atlas.”

“He’s been wanting to come to Alaska for a long time,” Shook said.

Hairr will face budget and staffing challenges.

“Running a small museum is difficult because it’s always underfunded and understaffed,” said former museum director Clarke.

Heaton said that Hairr would bring a new perspective, but that “it would have been really nice if there was someone in town qualified for the position.”