Museum hires historian

The Museum and Arts Center of the Sequim Dungeness Valley hired DJ Bassett, 60, of Sequim, as its interim executive director.

He succeeds Katherine Vollenweider, who retired in late July after nearly five years as director to spend more time with family.

Bassett brings a rich background in archival work and photography to the position.

Since moving to Sequim in October 2002, he's been operating his photography businesses www.historic and

and leading photography workshops.

His interest in history led him to roles as president of the Clallam County Historical Society board of directors, chairman of the Clallam County Heritage Advisory Board and president of the

Sequim Cemetery Association.

When he saw that Vollenweider was retiring, he figured the position would be a good fit for him.

Bassett attributes his past and current association with genealogical and historical organizations as a good transition.

He oftentimes found the Clallam County Historical Society and other groups shared information that was pertinent to Sequim with the museum.

"Space is limited and a lot more collaboration is going to have to happen now," Bassett said.

Despite the economic crunch on nonprofits, Bassett said he looks at challenges as opportunities.

"We have five-generation pioneers to art groups to tribal members," he said. "It shows people are able to work hard and be tolerant."

He'll be overseeing more than 100 volunteers who help run operations at the DeWitt Administration Building, Exhibit Building, Second Chance Consignment Shop and Old Dungeness Schoolhouse.

Museum movement

Bassett has been less than a week on the job but he says his first duty is to prioritize.

Some of his goals are increasing museum membership and volunteerism.

"It'd be great to see our volunteers grow, especially with young, vibrant, computer-savvy people," he said.

"We have a lot of older volunteers, but we could have a good mix."

Other plans include expanding the research library, number of classes offered and a more frequent newsletter.

Bassett is interim executive director through Dec. 31. Layton Carr, vice-president of the board of trustees, said he and other board members will develop an updated job description and advertise the position soon. They plan to fill the position by January 2011.

The Museum and Arts exhibit building is at 175 W. Cedar St., Sequim, and can be reached at 683-8110 or 681-2257, or go online to

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