Venice Museum & Archives
351 Nassau Street South
Venice, FL 34285
Office: (941) 486-2487
Fax: (941) 480-3590
DAYS & HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10am-1pm
FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: R. Rogers – Administrative Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Historical Resources Manager for the City of Venice
On September 25, 2017, Harry Klinkhamer joined the City in the role of Historical Resources Manager at the Venice Museum & Archives in the Triangle Inn. Originally from Chicago, Klinkhamer, brings to the city 20 years of work experience starting as an assistant archivist in Chicago to program officer and educational coordinator at the Will County Historical Society and Research Center in Lockport, Illinois “When I first heard about the position, I really did not know anything about the area,” Klinkhamer said. “I had been to the Florida Panhandle a lot as my parents were snowbirds there. What really drew me was the position itself. As a public historian, I have worked in museums, archives, and historic preservation, and the ability to dabble in all of that in a small community was too exciting not to apply. Since then I have been learning what I can about the area and am very excited about the beauty of the area, the friendliness of the people, and being close to water.”
Klinkhamer worked at the Will County Historical Society and Research Center since May 2016. There, as education coordinator, he researched and developed educational programs for Heritage Village based on state learning standards. He also assisted the director of the center with researching collections. Prior to that position, he was the museum coordinator/interpretive specialist at the Forest Preserve District of Will County, where he worked since 2007. There, Klinkhamer managed the day-to-day operation of the museum, including supervising and scheduling staff, creating and monitoring budgets, developing work and operational plans, developing programs, and coordinating various government departments for special events.
He has also served as the program officer for the American Association for State and Local History in Nashville, Tennessee, programs assistant and interim director at the Illinois State Historical Society, and assistant archivist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Chicago. Klinkhamer worked toward his Ph.D. in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University. He received an M.A. degree in Public History from Loyola University in Chicago, and a B.A. in History from the University of Illinois. He has taught history at Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee State, and the College of DuPage and Lewis University in Illinois.
Of his new role in Venice, Klinkhamer said, “I think the first important goal is getting the new archives/research building across the street (at 224 Milan Ave.) set up. There is a lot of project management and planning that staff and I will need to do to create a top-notch, professional facility. “My strengths lie in education, programming, and outreach and so I feel I bring to the role experience and ideas to get Venice history out to the community beyond the museum walls. I would like to see us find a way to have more of a presence in the historic downtown area through programming and possibly even mini exhibits. I also wouldn’t mind investigating getting local history into the schools. (VMA Curator) Jon Watson has put together a great comprehensive exhibit on Venice, so now it’s time to see where we can grow physically in the rest of the Triangle Inn or elsewhere. (Venice planner) John Nolen and his plan is a great starting point to get history out into the community.”
Klinkhamer and his wife of 2 1/2 years, Laura, are “old high school sweethearts that reconnected 25 years later.” Laura’s daughter, Natalie Zderad, 20, will be staying up north to finish her nursing degree and then may come down to live with the couple. Klinkhamer’s 12-year-old daughter Lily lives with her mom in the Chicagoland area. “We’ve already planned several trips for Lily to come down and when she’s here I’ll most likely rope her into volunteering at the museum — she loves doing that,” Klinkhamer said.
When he’s not working, Klinkhamer, “a big movie buff,” enjoys watching films. “Venice is very bike friendly so I want to pick that up again,” he added. “What I am really excited about is finding opportunities to get on the water via kayak or sailing. I used to crew for someone on Lake Michigan when I was younger and I really miss it.”
Curator and Collections Manager
From the Florida Keys, Jon Watson, was most recently the Museum Assistant at the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, Florida, a post he held since September 2016. His duties there involved assisting in day-to-day operations including sales, programming, membership, collections and curatorial services. He ran and managed gift shop sales, admissions, stocking, museum guest orientation and membership applications.
Watson also researched current collections and updated interpretation panels within museum exhibits, and maintained, cleaned and monitored artifacts within exhibits. “I could not be more excited about being hired by the City of Venice as its new Collections Manager and Curator,” Watson said. “I feel very fortunate to have been offered this wonderful position in such a gorgeous city that is so entrenched in significant cultural history. I am very dedicated to preserving Venice’s tremendous history as we move forward and continue to grow as a great city.
As Collections Manager at the City of Farmington, New Mexico Museum from September 2011 to August 2013, Jon was the point person for managing and overseeing the intake and organization of a collection of over 12,000 objects. He was also responsible for the organization of all archival material including accessioning, storing, describing, documenting and housing the materials.
From June 2010 to August 2011 Watson was the Manager of Collections at Yellowstone County Museum in Billings, Montana. There, he managed over 20,000 artifacts including incoming donations, loans and travel exhibitions. He organized the design and building of an archival storage facility at the museum that housed historic documentation and photography. Outside of this locked storage facility, he designed a research room that allowed patrons to look through the digital records of the museum’s artifacts and request research times to view desired objects. During this time, Watson was hired at the Yellowstone Gateway Museum in Livingston, Montana to create a 10,000-piece historic photo digital database, “Whithorn Collection Online Database”. The project, funded by an Institute of Museum and Library Science federal grant, required the planning and implementation of digitally preserving all items within the collections with only the help of a 20-person volunteer team. Watson worked at this museum from November 2007 through May 2010.
Originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan, Watson holds a bachelor’s degree in Public History with a concentration in Museum Studies from Western Michigan University. Of the Venice post, Watson said: “For me, this position is the cultivation of 8 years of prior museum experience and a 2016 master’s degree in Public History and Museum Studies from Texas State University. After my undergraduate studies, I worked 6 years as a Collections Manager at 4 different museums throughout the west. The diversity in jobs allowed me to gain experience in various different kinds of historic collections including art, cultural artifacts, archival collections, and natural history. Besides Collections Management experience, I gained much experience in professional museum writing and curatorial services producing exhibits for Texas State University, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and most recently the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada.”
Watson intends to combine both his professional skills in collections management and curatorial service in his work for the Venice Museum & Archives. By combining these skills, the museum will be able to better open up its valuable resources to the general public while at the same time producing clear, concise, educational and entertaining exhibits the city can truly be proud of, he said. “It is my professional goal to use the fabulous resources at the museum to promote the significant heritage of the city of Venice,” Watson added. “The city’s wonderful past is a critical element to moving forward, and it is my job as a preservationist and interpreter to safeguard and present this history in a way that is easily understood by the city’s population and by its tourists.” Watson, whose parents live in Bonita Springs, has relocated to Venice Island.