Elena Brokaw takes permanent position at Museum of Ventura County

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Elena Brokaw, who has served as interim executive director of the Museum of Ventura County since July 2016, has been named the executive director.

The announcement came Thursday during a “moment of gratitude” meeting where Brokaw gave an update on the museum’s status.

The museum was faced with possible closure earlier this year due to financial issues. It was bailed out by the Ventura City Council and the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, each of which gave $125,000 to the museum, with the stipulation that it report back in six months on how it would improve its finances, assess its collection and, in essence, become a better-managed, financially solvent institution.

Since then, the museum has appointed a new board of directors, which was introduced Thursday, and has secured $1.675 million in corporate and individual gifts, Brokaw told the audience. She also shared a five-year plan to diversify the museum’s revenue streams.

Brokaw also announced that the museum now has a location in Camarillo for cataloging and storing its extensive collection, which includes artifacts, photography and personal memorabilia documenting more than 150 years of Ventura County history.

“The museum has so many treasures that for years have been packed away in storage,” Brokaw said, according to a news release from the museum. “We are eager to begin a formal process of identifying and cataloging the entire collection, and expanding our programming to incorporate all of the pieces of history currently in our care.”

Also during the meeting, Brokaw accepted $5,000 from California Resource Corp. to seed the museum’s new corporate giving program. With its director, Vanessa Bechtel, in attendance, the Ventura County Community Foundation responded, committing to a Corporate Platinum Membership of $2,500.

In the coming week, the museum is holding two community meetings to ask the public a question: “What do you want from your museum?”

The first meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave. in Ojai. Check-in and a reception will start at 5:30 p.m.

The second meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Agriculture Museum, 926 Railroad Ave. in Santa Paula. A reception will begin at 5 p.m. at the Blanchard Community Library, 119 N. Eighth St., a short walk away.

The meetings are free, but reservations are encouraged. To RSVP, visit http://venturamuseum.org or call 653-0323.

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