After a year as interim executive director, John Ross is moving on from the Harbor History Museum. The museum is now on the lookout for a director in a permanent role.
Ross said his job was to come in and improve things at the museum. Under Ross’ leadership, the museum has strived to become engaging and relevant.
“We’ve been able to become an active member of the community,” Ross said.
Some examples of the museum’s push toward community engagement include its recent track record of hosting community activities and regular concerts.
“There’s still a lot of work to do,” he said, “but the museum is in a much better position now than it was a year ago.”
Dennis Carter, museum board vice president, said Ross has been a blessing for the museum over the past year.
“(Ross) came in at a turbulent period of time,” Carter said. “He came in and he hunkered down and he really did an outstanding job.”
Carter praised Ross for bringing leadership to both the board and the employees at the museum.
A self-described “local guy” and a Gig Harbor High School graduate, Ross isn’t looking to leave the harbor.
“I fully intend on sticking around,” he said.
When he was appointed interim director last year, Ross was clear that he did not intend to apply for the permanent role.
Before taking the position at the museum, Ross had spent seven years overseas. He traveled to the Middle East and Southeast Asia with the Portland-based Mercy Corps, an international development nonprofit. He returned home to be near family and friends in Gig Harbor.
“The time at the museum has been incredible,” Ross said.
The director job has been posted and the next step lies with the board. Ross will be around until someone new is installed.
The board is seeking a candidate with experience, maturity and an energetic approach, Carter said. The board wants to carry forward the programs and ideas Ross has put in place, Carter said.
The ideal candidate will “exemplify” the values of a tight-knit community like Gig Harbor, which is in touch with its local history, Carter said.