JERRY GOROSKI is the consultant appraisar to whom I refer inquiries about Scriver bronzes. He is formally trained and certified to do assessments and knew Bob Scriver as well as working for the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls. His gallery is called "Open Range Art."


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Arnie Olsen resigns from Montana Historical Society

Historical Society director resigns
By CHARLES S. JOHNSON - IR State Bureau - 11/03/05
HELENA — Arnold Olsen resigned Wednesday as director of the Montana Historical Society, a job he had held since July 1999.

Olsen, 55, said he is resigning to pursue other interests related to his doctorate in wildlife biology. He said he will leave the director’s job, which pays about $97,000 a year, in a week or so.

The society’s board of trustees said it will begin an immediate search for his successor.
He previously worked for 17 to 18 years for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks where he served as administrator of the Wildlife and Parks divisions.

Olsen resigned during the closed portion of a teleconference “special meeting” of the Historical Society’s board of trustees in the Capitol earlier in the day.

The board’s agenda announced in advance that a portion of the meeting was to be closed because “personal privacy outweighs public’s right to know,” a determination later made at the meeting. Although the agenda was posted on the Historical Society’s Web site, it was not sent to at least some news organizations prior to the meeting.

Like most society directors, Olsen had his supporters and his detractors on the board and among the agency’s various constituencies. The board oversees operations of Historical Society, which runs the state historical museum, the state archives, a history magazine, the state historical preservation office and oversees certain historical buildings.

In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Olsen said his resignation was voluntary. He said he never intended to stay as director as long as he did. Olsen said he has never remained in any one job longer than eight years.

“I have a lot of diverse interests,” Olsen said. He said he wants to remain in Helena and would like to return to the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the rest of his career before retiring in four or five years.

Asked if he received a financial settlement from the board to resign, Olsen said, “All of that is private.”
The press release announcing his resignation told how Olsen spearheaded efforts for the society before the 2005 Legislature’s to secure $7.5 million in state bonding for seed money for a new Montana History Center.

The society is considering the purchase of the land and buildings where the Capital Hill Mall is now located in Helena, a few blocks north of the Capitol and converting it to a new museum and headquarters, a project estimated to cost $40 million. The society is now completing architectural and engineering studies to determine if the mall is suitable for a history center.

Olsen said the timing of his retirement was in the best interest of the completion of the project.
“Looking at the timing of my retirement, I would not be able to see this important construction project through to completion and would not want to leave at a critical juncture,” he said in the press release.

He said he got the project to the point where it needed to be with the seed money from the Legislature and the support from Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

A number of private donors are stepping up now that they’ve seen the state’s commitment to the project, Olsen said.
“The future of the society is bright, and I feel good about the contributions I have been able to make toward its success,” Olsen said. “I wish the society and the board of trustees well as they move forward with their important work.”

Among his notable other accomplishments was the acquisition of the Robert M. Scriver collection to keep it in the state of Montana, the press release said.

Olsen was the ninth professional director to head the Historical Society since 1951, when historian K. Ross Toole headed the society for seven years. Before then, the society didn’t have professional administrators. The average tenure of its professional directors has been about five years.

The Montana Historical Society was created in 1865, a year after Montana became a territory, and became a state agency in 1891.

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