Raney Bench who was the Curator of Education for the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor from 2007 to 2014 and Executive Director of the Seal Cove Auto Museum since 2014 is set to become the new Executive Director of the Mount Desert Historical Society on January 1, 2020. Tim Garrity, who had been the Executive Director since 2010, will transition to a newly created position of Historian

Photoo Jennifer Steen Booher

Garrity informed the board a year ago of his desire to make way for a new leader and to focus on strengthening the organization’s capacity for historical interpretation. In its meeting of November 4, 2019, the board voted unanimously to endorse the succession plan and offer the position to Bench

Bench holds a Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies from Humboldt State University. In her career, she has worked extensively in all aspects of nonprofit museum management with a strong focus on education and community outreach.
Beginning in 2020, the society will expand its educational outreach efforts, building on active relationships with Mount Desert Island schools, University of Maine, and College of the Atlantic. At the K-12 level, the organization will devote resources to working with teachers and curriculum leaders, identifying points of entry at various grades for historical learning to enhance and complement what educators are already doing. According to Julie Meltzer, Director of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction for Mount Desert Island Regional School System , “ We consider the MDI Historical Society to be a valued Education Partner. We look forward to continuing to collaboratively explore and expand the ways we can work together to engage our students in meaningful learning about MDI’s past and present.”

“Raney has been an extraordinary executive director for the past six years,” said Liz McMullan, President of the Seal Cove Auto Museum Board. “We are so grateful for all of the energy, expertise, and effort she has put into the museum. We will miss her, and look forward to continuing our collaborative relationships with the historical society. We wish Raney all the best in her new endeavors.”