Story submitted by Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar
There’s a new director at the Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar—be sure to drop by and say hello!
Amelia Chamberlain has a lifelong love of learning and is not shy about trying out new adventures and new places.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she lived her first years in Pennsylvania. Her family moved to southern California where she attended schools at the University of California at Irvine (undergraduate), California State Long Beach and Cal Poly Pomona (teaching credentials), and Southern Oregon University (master’s degree in non-profit management).
Amelia’s career started in education when she taught preschool through the 7th and 8th grades.
Chamberlain states, “My husband and I met while I was teaching in southern California. We both had a dream of moving to Oregon. During a two-month-long tour of the United States, we found a place in southern Oregon we would come to call home for about 20 years. We purchased land in the Little Applegate Valley, and raised llamas and a huge garden.”
Soon, though, Chamberlain wanted more to do. After accepting a front desk position at the Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS), it wasn’t long until her educational experience was put to use. Chamberlain participated in a 1911 living history program as the town banker’s daughter, planned and implemented Children’s Heritage Fair for 2,400 4th graders, and as Programs Director, oversaw museum operations at three sites, marketing, children and adult programming, volunteers, and exhibits.
After acquiring a masters and attending the Seminar in Historic Administration at Williamsburg, Amelia was hired as Director at 19th Century Willowbrook Village in Newfield, Maine. “Maine is a beautiful place to work, Newfield has a rich history, and Willowbrook has several unique collections. There are two historic houses with barns dating back to the early 1800s, a functional 1894 Armitage Herschell Carousel, and an extensive carriage collection including an 1849 Abbott Downing Concord Coach,” shared Chamberlain. “They even had a roadable airplane!”
When Amelia accepted a position as Executive Director at Har-Ber Village Museum in Grove, Oklahoma, she and husband, Lee, and two white West Highland terriers, McDuff and Kiltie, packed all their belongings in a 54-foot trailer and moved to Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees. Har-Ber Village boasts over 100 buildings that house an eclectic variety of artifacts. Chamberlain’s focus was to reorganize collections for ease of viewing and to add a programmatic dimension, including monthly events, hands-on stations for children, an expanded trail, and a mining station.
“I have learned something new from each of these museums,” states Chamberlain. “SOHS is where I cut my museum teeth, so-to-speak. It was a medium-sized museum with several different departments. Although I was part of the programs department, I had the freedom to coordinate with other departments. Long-range planning, attending museum conferences, and serving as a peer reviewer for the IMLS grant program added to my knowledge and helped prepare me for my continuing museum work at Willowbrook and Har-Ber Village.”
“When I saw the position advertised for the Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar,” said Amelia, “I thought it might be time to go on another adventure! The smaller size of the museum and the fact that it is located in a college town both appealed to me. After meeting with the board of directors, I could tell that they are a group of people who care about the future of the museum and who have worked diligently to do what they can to promote the museum and support it.”
“I look forward to learning Stillwater’s history and putting to use skills I have honed over the years. I see a great deal of potential at the Museum, and I am excited to be a part of the Stillwater community. I invite readers of this story to stop by, check out the museum, and say hello. We are always looking for volunteers, supporters, and friends. The museum also has a small gift shop with unique gifts and books—and our 2020 Datebook will be going on sale soon!”