A national search has concluded for the Grignon Mansion’s first Executive Director position where more than three dozen applicants were considered. The City of Kaukauna’s Grignon Mansion Board unanimously appointed Ms. Cassidy Mickelson last month. With an undergraduate background in history (St. Norbert College) and a Master’s degree from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in history museum studies (State University of New York at Oneonta), Ms. Mickelson brings a diversified background in fundraising, museum management, educational programming, and collections management. Cassidy Mickelson begins employment with the City and Grignon Mansion on August 3rd.
The Executive Director role was born through efforts of the Friends of the Grignon Mansion (non-profit volunteer group that runs special events and tours of the Grignon Mansion), the City of Kaukauna (owners of the historic property), and the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley. The Community Foundation of the Fox Valley partially funded the new Executive Director role through a gift of the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Fund. The funds (to be disbursed over a three-year period) are being matched by City of Kaukauna budgeted funds to get the position established. After an initial joint funding period, it is anticipated that the Grignon Mansion will operate in a similar fashion to the 1000 Islands Environmental Center and the Kaukauna Public Library – a joint public / non-profit management and funding model.
Ms. Mickelson’s recent professional experience includes work at institutions such as the Texas Maritime Museum (Rockport, TX), Hanford Hills Museum (East Meredith, NY), Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (St. Michaels, MD), and the Wells Fargo History Museum (Minneapolis, MN) as well as internships at institutions in Maryland, California, Wisconsin, and the United Kingdom. Ms. Mickelson shares, “I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity and excited to begin working with the City of Kaukauna and the Friends of the Grignon Mansion”.
The City of Kaukauna’s Planning and Community Development Department has worked over the last two years with the Grignon Mansion Board to develop a long-range historic plan for the institution and its connectivity with other historic assets in the community. This planning document and other emerging developments at the site, including archaeological findings of indigenous populations located on the site by Lawrence University in 2019, pointed to the need for a full-time staff person to join the Grignon Mansion. The network of volunteers composing the Friends of the Grignon Mansion have significantly expanded the programming and operational hours at the Grignon Mansion in recent years and were involved in the interviewing process for the Executive Director.
Ms. Mickelson begins working with the City of Kaukauna on August 3rd and can be reached by email at [email protected].