Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Future of America's Credit Union Museum in Peril?

When I first got into credit union history, one of the few resources I could easily locate was America's Credit Union Museum in Manchester, NH. I reached out to the director, Peggy Powell, who had helpful reading suggestions, and I ended up spending two days in the Museum's reading room working my way through some rare literature. Given the dearth of institutional support for credit union history in general, the Museum is an incredibly valuable resource.

As such, I was taken aback to receive the following message from Peggy on Tuesday:
Thank you for sending a copy of the article you wrote for Financial History magazine. I have added it to the reading room.  
I want you to know that I am retiring from my position as Executive director of the Museum effective this Friday [8/29/2014]. Thank you for the support you have provided over the years and for your interest in the Museum. 
Never lose your passion for credit unions. 
Best wishes to you in the future. 
As I'd been thinking about visiting New Hampshire in the near future to meet with a food co-op organizing group, and was considering taking them on a field trip to the Museum, I wrote Peggy back inquiring as to what the Museum's next steps would be in her absence. She replied:
At this point a new Executive Director has not been hired which means the Museum will be temporarily closed until a replacement has been found. I do not know how long that will be. I suggest you call the Museum at 603-629-1553 prior to your trip to see if someone is in place. If nothing else there should be a message with a phone number of a person to contact.
The fact that there is no-one lined up to replace her is definitely a worrisome turn of events that might suggest that the future of the museum itself could be in peril. I poked around the website to see if any statement has been posted, but there's no mention of the change, and the last newsletter was sent out in August of 2012. I've sent a message to the Board President, Michael L'Ecuyer, through his credit union's contact page to inquire as to the museum's next steps, and I'll update this post if he responds.

###UPDATE - 9/2/2014###

Received this response this morning, which suggests things will be back to a semblance of normalcy by November:
I received your inquiry to Michael L’Ecuyer about the accessibility of the America’s Credit Union Museum in Manchester, NH.  The Museum is temporarily closed during the change of Executive Directors.   

We hope that the Museum will be open within the next six to eight weeks.  As soon as we have the re-open date finalized, I will be in contact so that you can continue your plans to visit.   I’m sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

Thank you for your interest in America’s Credit Union Museum.

America’s Credit Union Museum, Board Secretary

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