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Leadership change at Runestone Museum

The new Runestone Museum executive director, Amanda Seim, shows off the signature Kensington Runestone. (Judd Martinson | Echo Press)1 / 2
The museum features an Ice Age exhibit. (Judd Martinson | Echo Press)2 / 2

The Runestone Museum made a change in leadership as former executive director Jim Bergquist took a job at Alexandria Technical and Community College, and Amanda Seim stepped in to lead the museum.

Seim, who became the new executive director on Monday, studied anthropology at St. Olaf College after graduating high school in Alexandria. She spent time working in business management in the New York Hudson Valley before coming back to Alexandria.

Seim also studied a specialization of anthropology, archaeology, in the form of field schooling. She went on archaeological digs in England near Hadrian's Wall, and on a Roman city near Naples, Italy.

While spending time with her parents in Alexandria, Seim decided to volunteer at the Runestone Museum, she said.

Bergquist later offered Seim a contract position as an exhibit curator, event planner, and researcher, which she worked under for three months. When Bergquist said he was leaving, the museum board offered her the executive director position, said Seim.

Although Seim wasn't planning on staying in Alexandria, she is now house hunting and will be here for a while, she said.

What will the museum concentrate on under Seim's leadership?

"We want to make sure we stay family focused," Seim said.

Seim will also go on an archaeological dig each year, and present information on her trips at the Runestone Museum. This year she will travel to Kazakhstan where she will study petroglyphs, or ancient drawings on rocks.

The museum will work to create a fun and educational atmosphere, Seim said.

Some of the exhibits she highlighted at the museum are the local findings of a mammoth tooth from Carlos, as well as a mastodon tooth and bone.

Bergquist, the former executive director, who holds a doctorate in physical chemistry, explained how he wanted to go out on a high note after four years at the museum. He will teach physics and blue print reading at Alex Tech.

The museum increased its admissions substantially during his four year time as executive director, said Bergquist.

"History is definitely one of my interests and has been all my life," said Bergquist.

The Runestone Museum is near Big Ole Central Park at 206 Broadway in Alexandria.

The museum is open with summer hours through October 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sundays.

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