IDAHO FALLS — The Museum of Idaho is getting some new leadership.
Jeff Carr, the museum’s current senior director of External Affairs, was named executive director after an extensive nationwide search. Carr will take over the position when current Executive Director Karen Baker retires in January.
Carr was selected from a pool that initially included over 270 candidates. The museum’s selection committee had their hands full finding Baker’s successor.
“It was a tough, tough decision,” musuem board chair Joe Giebel said in a press release. “This is really a testament to this institution – after all of the effort we went through during this intense selection process in a national search, the two best candidates were right here from the museum.”
Carr said his new position comes with many new challenges and responsibilities.
“I’ve got a three-page-long job description I could read off to you,” Carr said. “The job entails a lot of things. I will be the primary face and representative of the museum. I will be overseeing our strategic planning and our budget to make sure the museum is being responsible and sustainable and continuing to grow in good ways.”
Another of Carr’s responsibilities will be to ensure the museum’s team has everything they need to keep advancing the mission to bring the world to Idaho and Idaho to the world.
“We already have such an excellent, talented team who do a lot of great things in the museum and the community,” he said. “I just want to make sure they have everything they need.”
Carr credited Baker for playing an important role in preparing him for his new tasks.
“Karen has been really good about helping me learn the ins and outs of the job,” he said. “There are certainly some things that I can bring to the table that I know pretty well, but there are some things that I don’t. So she’s been very helpful in helping guide and educate me in things I’m going to need to prepare for.”
Carr also said he’s grateful to have a great group of coworkers to lean on and help him fulfill his duties.
“I’ve got the benefit of a lot of experience on the team,” he said. “There’s a lot of people around here that really know what they’re doing.”
With the help of his team, Carr hopes to continue to make the museum a source of service, education and fun for the Idaho Falls community.
“The museum already does a lot of really great things, and I don’t picture coming in and upending anything,” he said. “I think Karen has put us in a really good position to be able to grow and do more. One thing I want to work on is making sure the museum is sustainable and can adapt to the changing world and the changing community around us.”
“We know, especially after COVID, that getting people out of their houses is not always easy,” he added. “More and more people are engaging with learning, content, science and history from home. So we need to make sure that we as a museum can be this nexus of culture for the community even when people are not within our four walls.”
The road ahead presents many challenges for the Museum of Idaho, but Carr says he’s ready to tackle them.
“I’m humbled and excited,” he said. “It’s certainly daunting, and this will be a new experience for me, certainly. But Karen has done a good job of preparing us, preparing me over the last few years, and we have a wonderful team, so it’s not like I’m going to be doing this thing alone.”