Plummer hired as historical society director, will retire from college.

February 3, 2015
Dr. Rick Plummer

Dr. Rick Plummer

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — Dr. Rick Plummer will be the new executive director of the Mason County Historical Society. He replaces Kate Arbogast who has worked in the position for the past two years.

Plummer has been the West Shore Community College director of performing arts since 1996. The historical society operates Historic White Pine Village and will also eventually operate the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, which will be located at the former U.S. Coast Guard station and grounds.

The college recently relieved Plummer of teaching duties so he could take on the role of marketing and public relations for the college’s foundation, while still remaining director of performing arts and chairman of the college’s arts and humanities division.

Plummer told MCP that he has informed the college’s administration of his intention to retire effective this summer.

“I am retiring from West Shore Community College and a career in higher education. This summer will be my last term in the academy,” he stated. The Hammond, Ind. native began teaching in 1973.

“As I look back on these 40-plus years in higher education of teaching and creating theater, I cannot imagine a better life.  I have loved everything about it — the joy and rewards have been enormous. I often joke about my idea of heaven — for me, it is a place where one spends countless hours secreted away in a library carrel room, amid a towering pile of books and notecards.

“I am retiring from West Shore Community College and a career in higher education, but I am not retiring from either new, exciting work or fresh, invigorating challenges.  Since neither the rocking chair nor the barcalounger hold any allure for me, I am transitioning into another active phase of life. I have accepted the executive directorship of the Mason County Historical Society, where I will manage Historic White Pine Village, the new Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, the MCHS Research Library, and all MCHS special programs and exhibits.

“I believe that history matters and that history has the power to change lives. Consequently, I believe that history museums and their exhibitions and programs should be life-changing.

“I will provide leadership in discovering new, bold, and vital ways of bringing our past to life. I will shepherd the Mason County Historical Society’s museums and exhibitions, and add dynamic public programs, while enhancing opportunities for scholarly research. I believe MCHS must collect and preserve, but I also believe it must engage wider populations by creating compelling, interactive ways of interpreting our area’s rich past. I want the Mason County Historical Society to bring our storied history more forcefully into the public realm and to encourage visitors to reflect on our past in order to shape our present and our future–to understand that history is dynamic and essential for a healthy civic life.

“I will help reshape the look, feel, and purpose of MCHS exhibitions and programs by helping to create path-breaking and breathtaking exhibitions and programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on us all today.  Everything MCHS does must inform and engage about the past, but also inspire about the future.

“While I am sure to miss the classroom, the rehearsal and performance hall, and the life of a college professor, I am honored to have been selected and eager to lead the Mason County Historical Society and to be a part of revitalizing our area’s rich past and making our MCHS museums, exhibitions, and programs the places to celebrate where we have come from, where we are, and where we may find ourselves in the future.”

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