Friday, April 15, 2011

Interview with York County, SC, Museums Director, Van Shields

hb big houseWhile visiting Historic Brattonsville on February 10, 2011, I happened to meet Mr. Van Shields. He’s Director and CEO of Historic Brattonsville’s parent organization, the York County Culture and Heritage Museums.

hb bville headquartersMr. Shields was on the way to another meeting, but agreed to sit and chat for a while with CarolinaConsidered about York County’s remarkable system of museums. Here, in four parts, is the result of that chat.

cm frontAt about thirty minutes, this is longer than most CarolinaConsidered interviews. But I think you’ll agree that it’s worth the extra time.

Here in Part One Van describes his arrival in York County, and his efforts to integrate several existing institutions.

In this second segment of the interview Van explains the thinking behind the diverse offerings of York County’s museums, and some personnel considerations.

Van continues in this third interview segment to describe the remarkably diverse museum offerings here in South Carolina’s York County, and how they are presented.

In conclusion, I asked Van what the future holds for York County’s museums. Most executives shy away from that question. But listen to what Van has to say. Clearly, he’s a man of vision. Not one of those bureaucrat/clerk implementers or maintainers. Hard to find such leadership!

Well, there you have it. Thirty minutes of highly credible description of one of South Carolina’s most dynamic and interesting museum systems. I had no idea so much was available here. York County is neither the most populous nor the richest of South Carolina’s 46 counties. Yet, with some innovative thinking, leadership, and strong community support, York County has created a system of museums that would make any county in the State or country proud.

mcc ticketsThe availability of such public resources is bound to have a positive effect on York County’s economic development, as well as its cultural quality of life.

mcc frontAfter talking with Van I decided to visit not only Historic Brattonsville, but all of the other York County Museum branches. What a treat! So stay tuned for programs on each branch.

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