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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

National Museum of Industrial history Has an Executive Director

Amy Hollander, Executive Director
At this time last year, the National Museum of Industrial History was on life support. Despite the infusion of $17-19 million in both public and private funds, the Museum was no closer to opening than it had been 17 years before, when it was first formed. A Northampton County Investigating Grand Jury had cast a glaring spotlight on a pattern of mismanagement, conflicts of interest and excessive salaries at the Steel Museum on Bethlehem's south side. But after a year that saw the departure of CEO Stephen Donches (no relation to Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez), construction is finally under way at the Museum, located at Bethlehem Steel's former electrical repair shop on East 2d Street. On May 5, standing in front of a 115-ton steam engine that once pumped 8 million gallons of water daily for the citizens of York, Museum Chair L Charles Marcon announced that the Museum finally has an Executive Director.

This steam engine once pumped 8 million gallons of water
daily to the citizens of York.
Amy Hollander was selected out of a field of 34 initial applicants because of her strong museum background, commitment to education and understanding of nonprofit organizations.

She'll be paid $90,000 a year, stated Marcon. She will also get a benefits package that is "adequate, but not generous." This pales in comparison to the $203,000 salary and benefits paid to Donches in 2011.

Hollander has 20 years experience in the museum and nonprofit sector. This includes AJC New Jersey, The Red Hill Museum Village and Readington Museum. She resides in Finesville, N.J., about a 25-minute commute. She is a Vassar graduate with a MA in Historical preservation from the University of Pennsylvania.

HVAC Superintendent Jack Burke
is part of construction team.
She wasted no time describing the 1914 Corliss steam engine behind her, explaining that this massive lifeline to York was so large it arrived in nine different pieces.

"My vision for the museum is to develop a premier educational experience that tells the story of America's industrial achievements and the accomplishments of the workers, innovators and entrepreneurs who built our great nation," she said. "This is a story that needs to be told here, amidst the artifacts and architecture of Bethlehem Steel, to connect future generations to America's and the Lehigh Valley's industrial roots."

The museum, with a staff of ten part-time and full-time workers, will have an annual budget of $1,050,000. It hopes to raise about $300,000 per year with $10-12 tickets for 50,000 visitors a year. Sponsors and members will be sought, and Hollander hopes to employ a development director within the next three months.

According to Marcon, the museum has enough capital to finish construction ($6.5 million) and install exhibits ($1.5 million).

Part of the funding for this project comes from a $3.1 million state grant. The museum will also use finding from the City's TIF to pay for improvements outside.

The museum will be open for business by the middle of next year, according to Marcon.


Anonymous said...

10 full and part time workers and an annual budget of $1,050,000 million, but annual admission ticket sales of $300,000? Does anybody else see a problem here?

Who is making up the difference if they don't get enough sponsors/members?

Please don't say taxpayers (at any level).

C.P.M. said...

Steve Donches (and the Board of Directors) should be in jail. I just can't believe that Kane could find no criminal wrong doing. What a pathetic sad story. Just imaging what could have resulted if the $19M frittered away over 17 years had been spent as intended by the donors.

Anonymous said...

^ Amen

Anonymous said...

And......this is why the Steel shut down. White collar crime going unpunished

Anonymous said...

7:43 AM
It was not only management poor decisions that caused the demise of BSC. There is enough blame to go around including the blue collar workers. The old Bethlehem Plant USW work force stood to make out by receiving the closing bonus of $400/month (which was contained in the labor contract) if the mill shut down. Why would these old guys want to change and give concessions (including changing some work rules) when they were so close to retirement?

Anonymous said...

The math on this place doesn't work. Who's covering the expected revenue gap? Was/Is Steve Donches a Democrat? If so, it likely explains Kane letting him off with a hand slap and lots of ca$h. This museum is, unfortunately, a monument to waste and corruption.

Anonymous said...

8:57 AM
I agree -- it's hard to believe it can survive. Who in their right mind will pay an admission fee to see a this facility? What can it possibly display to generate the funds necessary to be self sustaining?

Anonymous said...

The museum is a worthy idea and will likely draw visitors, if done right. Even if it hits on all cylinders, however, the math doesn't come close to working without some other funding sources. After what's already transpired over 17 years, it would be good to have the transparency to discuss expected finances.

Anonymous said...

This is the next steamtown usa

Anonymous said...

re 743, to imply that the $400 shutdown supplement was a bonus is laughable, it was meant to help you get to social security without starving, the steelworkers took huge concessions voted on by the membership prior to the shutdown, we sure didn't want the plant to close.You opined from a position of ignorance since obviously the corporate types got the gold mine, we got the shaft!

Peter J.Cochran said...

This LADY is Wonderful. A breath of clean air . Somebody should be hanged by the hill to hill bridge on this one.I personally have supported history projects. If fact Lew Reda has me on Military.Com now in a series called "Above and Beyond" where I talk about military guys that rise to the occasion in extraneous battle. This lady has to bring up the dead of this project. I will help her if I can and she needs somebody of history . Peter J. Cochran

Peter J.Cochran said...

Just imagine for one minute why a -16 inch bore diameter gun barrel sat underneath the Hill to hill bridge for as long as many of us were kids ? Why was that ,I know. EXCITE people why they know something.Bethlehem Steel Employees were a major contributor to the war effort in WW2. They should be proud and their grandchildren need to know.

Anonymous said...

4:31 --- what concessions did the steelworker take to keep the Bethlehem plant opened??? None!

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bethlehem Steel was probably run into the ground by the EXECUTIVES ,people on the upper end incomes. The guy that got paid to sweep floors for $15.00 an hour in 1974 and slept his shift away---- was doing so because the management was not paying attention .