The Frazier History Museum has named an interim executive director. Development consultant Paula Turner Hale will lead the Louisville institution while the board of directors engages a national director search. Executive director Madeline Burnside, who led the museum for seven years, retired at the end of last month.
Hale brings more than 35 years of experience to the role, much of it in Louisville nonprofits and civic leadership positions, including the former Chamber of Commerce (now GLI), where she developed the first Leadership Louisville program. She worked for the Speed Art Museum for 14 years in various roles, including director of development. Hale has also served as a development consultant to many area cultural institutions, including the Frazier Museum.
“She has tremendous experience,” said Frazier board of directors member Mac Brown, who also praised Burnside’s leadership over the last seven years.
“[Burnside] really brought the organization the next level. We want to see that growth continue,” said Brown. “It’s having that steady hand and that consistency. It’s making the people in the organization be confident in their leadership, and I think Paula will bring a lot of that confidence to the organization.”
During her tenure, Burnside oversaw the museum’s name change from the Frazier Arms Museum (which it was founded as in 2004) and a broadening of the museum’s mission to focus on regional, national and international history. The institution serves more than 150,000 patrons annually, and is currently in the final stages of a $2 million campaign to fund an expansion and remodel project.
Now, Brown says the next executive director will need to be able to foster and maintain strong ties between the institution and the community.
“The Frazier has brought to the community a lot in terms of the cultural support that it adds to the community and we want to make sure it continues to do that,” said Brown. “You want somebody who’s going to embrace what the Frazier represents right now, but also be able to bring it to the community.”
Brown says the board plans to “take our time” with the search, and that Hale’s interim appointment gives them until the end of the year to put a new leader in place.