Marylee Hagan steps down at historical society

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Marylee Hagan, executive director of the Vigo County Historical Museum History Center, will retire from the position on Nov. 8, 2019.

Marylee Hagan’s dream has been a new, more spacious home for the Vigo County Historical Society and Museum.

That dream became reality Tuesday as the History Center officially opened its doors and welcomed the first visitors — Vigo County School Corp. third-graders — to the three-story, 34,000-square-foot facility at 929 Wabash Ave.

The project took years of planning, fundraising and renovating. “It’s been a journey,” Hagan said earlier this week of the $3 million project.

Now that it’s completed, Hagan is stepping down as executive director after 25 years at the helm. Her last day is Friday, and Susan Tingley, who has been development director, will take over as executive director.

Hagan, 83, said she plans to continue volunteering at the museum and will return for the ribbon-cutting Nov. 19.

“This has been a dream of mine to see something like this happen for the city, and it has. And at my age, I’ve got other things on my bucket list I need to do,” she said Wednesday. “I’ll take life a little easier.”

She said her 25 years as executive director “has been a wonderful experience and I’ve loved it.”

The new downtown location puts the museum “in the swim of things,” Hagan said. “I’m so excited about the renaissance that is happening downtown, and we can be a part of it. And, I think the community will benefit from us being here.”

With this week’s opening of the History Center, the community likes what it sees, she says. “We’re so excited about the reaction from people.”

She and Tingley hoped that people would walk in and say, “Wow.” And, that’s exactly what the response has been, Hagan said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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