Saturday, October 23, 2004
STORY: Interim director appointed for Shaker Village
Interim director appointed for Shaker Village
By Jack Dew
Berkshire Eagle Staff
HANCOCK -- As it continues its search for a new leader, Hancock Shaker
Village has chosen an interim director to head the museum for the
remainder of the year.
The museum's board of trustees has appointed Bill Densmore interim
director. Densmore is currently the advertising director of the North
Adams Transcript, a sister newspaper of The Eagle.
Densmore will step down from his job at The Transcript and assume his
duties at the museum in early September. He is simultaneously forming a
media, marketing and management consulting practice, Densmore Associates,
and will be working with Clickshare Service Corp., an Internet company he
founded, as it expands operations.
The museum's current director, Lawrence J. Yerdon, is leaving the village
after 18 years to become the president of the Strawbery Banke Museum in
With Densmore's hire, the museum is turning to someone who has spent his
career in the private sector. Martin Langeveld, co-chairman of the board
of Hancock Shaker Village, said Densmore was chosen partly because he will
bring a fresh perspective. Langeveld is also publisher of The Transcript.
"He brings a good human resources perspective and a kind of non-museum
perspective from outside of the nonprofit world," Langeveld said. "This
interim period is not a period where we want to go and make a lot of
wholesale changes, or any wholesale changes, really, but we do want to
take the opportunity to take stock of the organization."
Densmore said he is not an expert on the Shakers, but has an abiding
interest in their history that was aroused when he saw filmmaker Ken
Burns' 1984 documentary "The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God."
"I was mesmerized by that movie," Densmore said. "I had no idea that the
Shakers were a religious community, and no idea about their values about
gender equality, peace, work, faith and simplicity. I find I am just
intrigued by the extent to which these values are relevant to contemporary
society. If nothing else, I consider this an opportunity to be close to
all of that for a period of months."
Densmore said he hopes to shepherd the museum safely through the
conclusion of two fund drives with which the village hopes to raise more
than $240,000. He said he wants to give the trustees the time they need to
hire a strong candidate to take over permanently.
Densmore's agreement with the museum will allow him to devote more time to
Clickshare. The company, which operates a service that facilitates the
buying and selling of information over the Internet, ranging from news
articles to music to property deeds, is growing, and he wants the time to
help it along.
And Densmore said he sees a similarity between the Hancock Shaker Village
and his work with Clickshare: "It is really a pleasure to work with people
who are struggling with an institution, whether it's a newspaper, a museum
or a start-up Internet company, who are trying to accomplish something
hard without all the resources you would like to have, because in that
environment, people's best energies and creativity come out."
Jack Dew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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