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History has always “clicked” with him


HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) – Dan Brosz’s interest in history, nature and museums began early in life.

Brosz, 44, began working as the new collections curator at Hastings Museum in December 2021.

“Our family vacations were either national parks or museums as a destination, or usually both,” he said. “If I wasn’t dragged into a national park visitor center, I was into Chicago’s big museums. They were always stops for us. Until I got tired, it was still a pleasant experience.

He grew up in a family whose parents both loved history.

“Just hearing stories of family history and background—growing up in the Cold War and all the Cold War movies that came out in the 80s and popular culture—sparked my interest in ‘Why the United States Doesn’t don’t they like the Soviet Union? he told the Hastings Tribune. “History has always clicked with me. What kid doesn’t love going to the dinosaur museum? It also opens the door to other museums and has led to an appreciation for art and art museums and art history.

Looking back, he doesn’t know which came first, the love of museums or the love of history.

“They probably both fed each other and made me the history buff I am today,” Brosz said.

This interest led Brosz to pursue a degree in history at Northern State University in his hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota.

“I had very good teachers who took me under their wing and gave me direction,” he said. “I was involved in the history club there.”

The club visited the South Dakota State Historical Society, which allowed them to learn about some of the careers available at museums.

Brosz received a master’s degree in museum studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also completed the Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of Notre Dame.

His professional experience includes working as a registrar at the National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana; curator of collections at the South Dakota State Historical Society; and Director of Arts in Communities with the North Carolina Arts Council.

He was recently joined in Hastings by his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Hannah.

Jennifer has a background in historic preservation. The couple worked at the same State Historical Society building in South Dakota and again in North Carolina.

Hannah is a kindergarten student at Adams Central Elementary.

Brosz served as president of the South Dakota Museum Association and served on numerous regional and national committees. His primary interests are the history of the Northern Great Plains, the history of the United States of the 20th century, and the cultures and histories of the Indigenous peoples of the Northern Plains.

As Curator of Collections, Brosz will help plan the museum’s upcoming permanent exhibits, as well as expand storage of the museum’s collections.

“It’s both exciting and intimidating,” he said.

It is still acclimatizing to the museum’s storage collection.

“Teresa (museum director Teresa Kreutzer-Hodson) and Jess Noyd (museum registrar) have done a great job over the years identifying and cataloging everything,” he said.

Brosz knew the Hastings Museum and several staff members before applying for the job.

He has known many of the Hastings Museum staff for nearly 10 years through their mutual involvement in the Mountain-Plains Museum Association.

“I knew them and had been here on tour in 2012 or 2013 when the conference was in Lincoln,” he said. “I was really impressed with the museum. It was a place when it came time to look and see what was going on there and this work opened up, I saw myself working there. People are great. The museum is great. I was looking to get back into the museum realm, and (when) this opened up, it was like, ‘This could be fun.’ ”

Brosz was one of two out of three candidates already known to museum officials.

Brosz’s qualifications stood out from Kreutzer-Hodson.

“Dan’s experiences and talents in his previous jobs really shined through,” she said. “We just thought he would fit very well into our team and fill niches that we don’t currently have, especially with grant writing.”

She said another aspect that helped Brosz rise to the top of the nominees was her knowledge of the legal issues museums face, such as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, loan agreements , copyright and title transfer. Along with the grant experience, this was an important factor in her selection.

“He has a very solid background in managing and caring for collections,” she said. “He has worked with education departments and exhibition departments before. He really had that baggage, but he also had the cultural baggage. He is strong in cultural history. This is another key element that we looked at and helped us decide it would be a better fit. We don’t have to practice a lot with him.

Brosz will succeed Kreutzer-Hodson as curator of the collections.

Kreutzer-Hodson, a long-time museum employee, was appointed director of the museum by Hastings City Council on July 12, 2021. She served as interim director following the departure of former director Becky Matticks.

“So far so great and I can’t imagine it not being great because of the type of person Teresa is and coming in knowing that my predecessor was doing it right and she built the foundations, it will make my job easier,” Brosz said. .

Kreutzer-Hodson is confident in Brosz’s abilities.

“I’ve been at the museum for 25 years, and 24 and a half worked exclusively in his position,” Kreutzer-Hodson said. “It’s a bit difficult to let go of your baby, but I think Dan will do just fine. I try to be the resource for him but not to hinder him. He has his own ideas about how he wants to adopt some of the management practices, all of which are consistent with professional development standards in our field. »