A search is under way for a new director at the Iroquois Indian Museum.
Erynne Ansel-McCabe, who led the Schoharie County museum for more than 11 years, confirmed in an e-mail Tuesday she left the museum’s employ.
“The Iroquois Museum will always have a place in my heart,” she said in the e-mail. She said she “felt the need to move on” and believes she and the museum’s board of trustees is moving in new directions.
Founded in 1981 and built in the likeness of an Iroquois longhouse, the Caverns Road museum has served as a venue for both traditional and modern Iroquois artwork.
The museum holds annual events that highlight aspects of Iroquois artwork and draw Native Americans and non-natives.
An economic downturn and 2011 flooding forced the museum to curtail its annual schedule over the past two years; it now opens in May instead of April and closes after Thanksgiving, a month earlier than typical.
Iroquois Indian Museum board of trustees President Larry Joyce said Ansel-McCabe will be missed.
“Erynne did a wonderful job of keeping us going all these years,” he said.
The Iroquois Indian Museum is unusual as an institution dedicated to Native American topics — most Native American museums are supported by either governments or tribes. This one is a non-profit without a sponsor.
“We’re pretty dependent on grants and admissions,” Joyce said.
The board of trustees posted an outline of qualifications sought in a new director including experience in museum work, management or leadership experience and specialized training in Native American studies, anthropology or museum studies.
But one of the primary requirements, Joyce said, is the ability to raise money to keep the museum financially healthy. The new director, he added, will face the challenge of identifying potential benefactors as well as working to boost attendance at events that yield revenue from admission charges.
“I’m sure there’s people out there who are greatly interested in Native American Art and Iroquois culture,” he said, and it’s these people who might be able to provide support for the museum and its mission.
The salary for the position is negotiable, Joyce said.
People interested in learning more about the museum or the director position can visit the website at www.iroquoismuseum.org/.