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Museum Blog

Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery Executive Director to Retire After Seventeen Years

March 3, 2021 (Red Deer, Alberta) – Lorna Johnson, the Executive Director at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (MAG) who has been with the MAG for 17 years, plans to retire in October of 2021. “As I became acquainted with the MAG’s collections and the history of this community, and as I worked with Board members, volunteers, staff and members of the community, I developed a deep love of this community and this region,” Johnson said. “It will be seventeen years since my first day of work here. I am so grateful for everyone who has supported me over the years, and I am so grateful that the MAG is so valued by our community.”

Johnson joined the museum in 2004 as Museum Manager. During her tenure, she led renovations to the museum’s exhibition and office spaces in 2010, which made it possible for the MAG to host major touring exhibitions from the National Gallery, the Canadian Museum of History and Library and Archives Canada.

Lorna was project manager for the design and development of Remarkable Red Deer: Stories from the Heart of the Parkland, a permanent exhibition about Red Deer’s history to celebrate Red Deer’s 100th anniversary. Among Johnson’s favorite projects are Walking With Our Sisters, a memorial to the missing and murdered First Nations women, Powwow! Ohciwin: the Origins, and Dave More: A Painter’s Gift.

The Succession Committee of the Red Deer & District Museum Society board has hired Leaders International Executive Search to recruit the next Executive Director. “I wish the MAG continued success in the future,” says Johnson. “I hope that my successor will find the work as fulfilling and rewarding as I have. I know I will miss the MAG very much, but I plan to stay in this community, so you can be sure that I will return as a visitor whenever I can.”

Letter to Members:

Dear Friends,

When I accepted the position of Museum Manager back in 2004, I was realizing my dream of leading a community museum. The position was my ‘dream job’, and it has continued to be my dream job ever since. I have loved coming to work every day. I have loved working with the Board and staff to envision the future of the MAG, and I have loved trying to solve the challenges that arose along the way.

I could not have imagined how much the Red Deer & District Museum (now the MAG) would change and grow over the years. As I became acquainted with the MAG’s collections and the history of this community, and as I worked with Board members, volunteers, staff and members of the community, I developed a deep love of this community and this region. Over the years I have had the wonderful support of the Board and staff and our membership to experiment, make changes, and find as many ways as possible to showcase the range of our collections, the works of our artists, and to bring interesting exhibitions from other centres to our community.

I am proud of the renovations that we completed in 2010, which made it possible to host major touring exhibitions from the National Gallery, the Canadian Museum of History and Library and Archives Canada. Leading the project development for Remarkable Red Deer: Stories from the Heart of the Parkland in celebration of Red Deer’s 100th anniversary was a very rewarding experience.  I am especially proud that we were able to host the Walking With Our Sisters project, which was an unforgettable recognition of the tragedy of First Nations missing and murdered women. I am very proud of Powwow! Ohcîwin The Origins, which was developed in-house with a local team of curators. It has been exciting to work with Dave More, for his exhibition, The Garden Ceremony, and then his most generous gift of works to the MAG, which we exhibited in A Painter’s Gift.

I have enjoyed very minute of it! I have learned so much, and I have formed friendships and I have developed a deep love of the parkland landscape. This past year has been a challenging one for everyone, but it has been so inspiring to come to work every day and see how the MAG’s staff have worked creatively to ‘pivot’: to hunker down and get behind-the-scenes tasks done; to invent new ways of communicating with our community members when they could not visit, and by becoming ‘family’ to each other – offering support and encouragement as we rode the rollercoaster of pandemic.

After considerable reflection, I have decided to retire in October of this year. It will be seventeen years since my first day of work here. I am so grateful for everyone who has supported me over the years, and I am so grateful that the MAG is so valued by our community. I have benefitted from supportive Board members, and imaginative, dedicated and hard-working staff.

The Board has launched a Succession Committee to find the next Executive Director. I wish the MAG continued success in the future. I hope that my successor will find the work as fulfilling and rewarding as I have. I know I will miss the MAG very much, but I plan to stay in this community, so you can be sure that I will return as a visitor whenever I can.

Lorna Johnson
Executive Director


For more information, contact:

Lorna Johnson
Executive Director
403-309-8439
lorna.johnson@reddeer.ca

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