After more than two months of searching, the Euharlee Historical Society welcomed its new museum director, Katie Odom, during a reception Dec. 4.
Odom has an MBA in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State and an undergraduate certificate in public history from Kenesaw State University. She has volunteered at the Bartow History Museum, the Root House Museum in Marietta and has worked with Cobb Landmarks.
“I’m very excited,” Odom said about directing the Euharlee History Museum. “This is a wonderful town, a wonderful museum that we have here and I’m just excited to be a part of it and take it to the next point.”
Taking the museum to the next level and raising awareness of the museum are goals she shares with city council member Sammy Carden, who worked with the EHS to find a museum director, which is a city-funded position.
“The bottom line is it wasn’t being as fully-staffed and as actively maintained as it ideally should be. I felt like if we were going to have a museum it should be one that is a quality and an asset to the community. It’s not that [the EHS] did a bad job, it’s just that they weren’t specifically trained in the talents necessary to curate a museum,” he said.
Jean Cowart, president of the EHS, said the group was “real pleased” to have a director on board.
“All we’ve done is amateur,” she said. “So if she can arrange it better, we’ll be glad to have that happen.”
Odom was one of 30 applicants to the position, Carden said. That list was later narrowed down to five candidates who were first interviewed by City Manager Trish Sullivan and then the entire city council and a representative from the EHS.
Odom said she was a little nervous about being interviewed by so many people, but she thought her experience talking to large groups while volunteering prepared her. She was more concerned that her age, 25, could work against her.
“Everybody has to start somewhere. She’s not just completely green. She’s not green. She’s done curation, she’s done the grant funding research, projects with museums she’s worked with before. Age was not a deterrent,” he said.
Just a few days into working as the museum director, Odom said she was eager to work with the EHS and promote Euharlee’s history to the area and start working with local schools.
“I’m looking forward to working with the members of the community, especially members of the historical society, and developing a new interpretive plan,” she said. “When I say new, [I mean] very closely related to what we have already and just working toward … We’re just trying to take what they have here and promote it to the community and outside of Euharlee and to all of North Georgia. …
“It’s incredible to see a group of volunteers like this, and like I experienced at Cobb Landmarks, [who] are incredibly passionate. Both of those organizations started based on just people loving the place where they lived and loving the history of it. It’s inspiring, honestly.”
The Euharlee History Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and call 770-607-2017 for more information.
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