- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - A southeastern Kansas county museum that faced tight budgets closed this week with the resignation of its only staffer, who was unpaid.

Director and curator Mark Dulek, who has worked on a volunteer-basis since 2012 for the Crawford County Museum, officially submitted his resignation Wednesday afternoon and handed over the keys to the county commission, The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/1FPYN48 ) reported.

Dulek said he was the lone remaining member of the 75-year-old Crawford County Historical Society, which owned the majority of contents in the museum. The building and land is owned by the Crawford County Commission and was leased to the society on a 99-year contract for $1 per year.

Visitors to the museum have declined in recent years. Dulek said he believes that’s because it only was open on the weekends and on Fridays, when he could find someone else to volunteer. Dulek makes his living as a substitute teacher for Pittsburg schools Monday through Friday.

Dulek said about $1,000 per month is spent on utilities and insurance for the building because of its age and size. The facility is around 14,000 square feet.

He said a lack of manpower and not enough funding makes it nearly impossible to organize, catalog and care for artifacts; to keep the building open on more days; and to maintain it.

“I’m just willing to walk away from it,” he said. “I personally don’t own it, and the backlash would be tremendous if I did anything with the artifacts. I’m giving it back to the county. At least we left it better than we found it. I gave it my best shot.”

Because he’s the only member of the historical society, it will dissolve as well, he said.


Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com

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