Museum Director, Board President Resign

It was not the kind of announcement Bill Buchan, past president of the Historical Society and volunteer Director of the Orcas Museum, looked forward to making at the Annual Meeting of the Orcas Island Historical Society on December 2.

But it fell to him to announce that recently hired director Douglas Brewer, and recently elected President of the Board, Carl Twentier, had tendered their resignations the day before.

Twentier said, “When we came aboard, we thought certain things were going to happen and they didn’t come to pass.”

On the part of the board, it was a total surprise when the two men submitted their resignations on Saturday, December 2. Buchan says that disagreement over the 2013 budget was the immediate cause of the resignations. Buchan said that the budget presented at a preliminary meeting “needed to have a better starting point. We were not ready to release this to the annual meeting.

“I understand Douglas wanted to brief the annual meeting on plans for the future, contingent on the proposed budget getting finalized. I, for one, felt we weren’t ready and could work on it later.”

Instead, at the annual meeting Buchan gave a brief budget presentation as to the general financial status of the Museum and Historical Society. The 2013 budget still needs to be addressed.

Buchan and Board Member James Lobdell admitted at a meeting with Orcas Issues that they were “struggling to understand what just happened.”

They praised the work done by the organization in the last year, which included raising funds for Brewer’s salary for 2013 and beyond.

Other accomplishments in the last year include:

  • Historical Matinees on Sunday afternoons, so successful that they had to move to the Senior Center to accommodate guests;
  • Photographic display at the Orcas Center. Now many of the photographs are exhibited on the walls of the entry hallway at the Museum;
  • Logging “Rodeo” with the Harvey family during the community celebration of the 4th of July, spearheaded by Denise Wilk;
  • Cruise into History with Tom Welch and Eclipse Charters (all proceeds donated to the Museum);
  • The Barn Tour, organized by Margot Shaw;
  • Personnel changes including Kathy Everett as Office Administrator, Eirena Birkenfeld as Community Outreach Coordinator and most recently, Maria Doss as archivist.

The board is “united and committed as we face the challenge, “ said Buchan. “We will continue to have quarterly events, the Matinees, Historical Days in some fashion.” A newly formed committee, led by Jean Dickerson, is working on the more than 2,200 photographs taken between 1914 and 1941 by the Geoghegan family. And Museum archivist Maria Doss is in the process of documented all Museum collections, a project initiated by Brewer.

The Historical Society started in 1951. The Museum opened in 1956. It is located at North Beach Road. The phone number for the Museum, located at 181 North Beach Road, is 376-4849. The website is

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Museum Director, Board President Resign — 1 Comment

  1. This is a tragic loss for the museum as Doug Brewer was probably working for well below his normal pay grade.