Meet the Staff by Linda Balk
Nicole Elzenga, Executive Director
Nicole Elzenga started as our Executive Director on February 20, 2015. Nicole has jumped in with both feet and is off and running. Prior to coming to RCHS she worked for 15 years as the Collections Manager at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove. The “History Geek” is learning all about Renville County and is making new friends every day. She is very interested in learning how RCHS members are connected to Renville County.
Nicole comes with the knowledge of museum works and research. She also has many connections with the regional historical society directors and curators. She is able to draw on her knowledge and the support of others to lead the museum in the future.
With her previous experience she has been getting the museum in order and making “new” finds in the museum collections. She has rearranged and expanded exhibits and has designed three new exhibits. Come down and see our “new and improved” Museum area.
Nicole has worked hard to start improving the museum. She has spearheaded the painting project with donation collected in 2015 to paint the two Norfolk Township schoolhouses and 2016 donations to paint St. John’s Church. 2017 project is to get electricity back to the schoolhouses to make the sustainable exhibit areas. The cost of this project is estimated at $2000.
Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious and she is continually on the go, whether working on PastPerfect adding accessions, seeking donations, managing the membership or meeting and helping the visitors. Her staff and volunteers are working hard with her to help the museum meet its full potential. She also serves on several boards representing RCHS.
The Keurig is on everyday and Nicole would like to meet you. Winter Hours: Monday-Friday 10 AM – 4 PM!
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is the largest program offered by Experience Works. Last year, more than 15,000 older adults received training and job placement assistance through Experience Works SCSEP. The SCSEP is the only federal program designed specifically for low-income adults who are age 55 and older. Funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act, the SCSEP gives seniors the opportunity to receive the minimum wage while improving their job skills at local community agencies such as senior centers, schools, and health and veterans facilities prior to transitioning into the workforce. In addition to gaining valuable new skills and experience, seniors enrolled in the SCSEP contributed more than 7 million hours of community service in the last program year, increasing the quality of life for citizens in virtually every county in the nation.
The Society is proud to be a supporter of this program for many years. Currently Dick Roper and Loren Olson work at the Museum doing various duties.
Richard “Dick” Roper started working at the Museum in November 2014. He is a local resident graduating from Morton High School in 1967. He is also a Vietnam veteran serving in the U.S. Navy 1968-1972. After his service he returned to the family farm which was located in Beaver Falls Township just a mile from the Beaver Falls County Park. He is familiar with many of the local farmers from his twenty years of selling Pioneer Seed. His knowledge of the area and connections make him a great candidate for the Museum. He shares the history of the area with visitors and does research, tours and assists the director with a variety of projects. Many will remember him from his twenty years of working at Wal-Mart in Redwood Falls and his many years of behind-the-bar service.
Loren Olson started working at the Museum in April 2015. He is originally from the Spicer/Willmar area and moved to Morton with his wife, Laurie, in the summer of 2014. He enjoys fishing, hunting and trap shooting. His daughter, Rachel and granddaughter both reside in Morton as well.