William Stoutamire, director of UNK’s G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture, received the University of Nebraska Board of Regents KUDOS award May 25.
KUDOS awards recognize university staff for their professional expertise, service and “superior dedication” to UNK and University of Nebraska. It is the university’s top staff award.
Stoutamire has been a member of the UNK staff since 2014.
As museum director, Stoutamire is responsible for overseeing the reinvention of the Frank Museum, including a new mission and vision, expanded hours, new programming and exhibits, and the restoration of the interior to reflect different eras in Kearney’s history.
He also operates the museum as a humanities laboratory that serves as an extension of UNK’s educational mission. Each semester, 20-30 students engage in interdisciplinary projects from historic preservation and documentary editing to interactive historical map design. Their work benefits the museum as well as their educa-tional portfolios.
In addition, his duties encompass fundraising and marketing; research and exhibit design; community outreach and caring for the museum’s collections; and he serves as a graduate lecturer in UNK’s Department of History.
For years known simply as “the Frank House,” the home was built in 1886 as a private residence, appears on the National Register of Historic Places, and was recently renamed as a first step in expanding the relevancy of this historic treasure.
Under Stoutamire’s direction, the museum’s visitation increased by more than a 250 percent in his first year alone, and in 2015 it hosted the Nebraska Chautauqa sponsored by Humanities Nebraska. Earlier this year he was honored as recipient of the National Council on Public History 2016 New Professional Award.
Stoutamire reports to and works closely with Audrey Kauders, director of the Museum of Nebraska Art. She enthusiastically applauds his ability, his knowledge and his collegial nature. “UNK is immensely fortunate to have him as Director of the Frank Museum,” she says. “In many ways, we are creating a new model: two museums on the same campus, under the same administration, in a symbiotic relationship of equals.”