Originally created 11/19/96

Museum names top job hopefuls



The Augusta-Richmond County Museum search committee has chosen five finalists for the executive director's job, according to board chairman Ray Rufo.

They are:

  • Robert J. Kothe, Lakeland, Fla.
  • Scott W. Loehy, Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Thomas A. Rhodes, Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Charles D. Smith, North Palm Beach, Fla.
  • Warren J. Zager, Brandon, Fla.
  • The finalists were chosen from a field of 27 candidates throughout the country, said Dr. Rufo, "We think we got the cream of the crop from the applicants."

    The committee will interview the finalists Saturday, Sunday and Monday and recommend their top choice to the full board of trustees Dec. 5, Dr. Rufo said.

    Mr. Kothe is an antiques dealer specializing in restoration of Plain Style Southern furniture. Has was executive director for the Reno, Nev., Historical Society from 1993-95. He also was executive director of the DeKalb County Historical Society and director of museum services for the Atlanta Historical Society in charge of exhibits and collections including the late 1920's Swan House and the historic Tullie Smith farm site.

    Mr. Loehr is administrator of the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville, overseeing a six-acre, multimillion dollar campus of three historical resources. His 12 years in the museums field has included being museum director of the St. Lucie County Historical Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., and assistant curator of the St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department in Clayton, Mo.

    Mr. Rhodes, has served as director of four National Register Historic sites including the Jekyll Island Club District and the Vanderbilt estate on Long Island, N.Y. He served as curator of the Magevney House, the oldest house in Memphis, Tenn. He is past president of the Southeast Museums Conference, the largest organization for museum professionals in the Southeast.

    Mr. Smith, is director of museum operations at the Palm Beach, Fla., Maritime Museum. Has been a museum professional since 1973. He has been president of the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach, executive director of the National Soaring Museum in Elmira, N.Y., director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Fla., and deputy director of the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Va.

    Mr. Zager is leader of the exhibits department for the largest science center in the Southeast, with 230,000 square feet on 67 acres, featuring Florida's only IMAX Dome theater and the first public library and Head Start Center in a museum.

    Of the 27 applicants, five had doctorates, 13 had master's degrees and nine had bachelor's degrees in arts or science.

    The board is selecting a director to replace Dick Wescott, who is resigning at the end of March. He plans to cast and market bronze sports figures and work with his son in North Carolina.