Lake Wales History Museum Director Departing

Melissa Stoller Has Led Organization Since 2022

 

Last updated 1/10/2024 at 4:53pm

News file photo

Melissa Stoller is leaving the Lake Wales History Museum after a year and a half to accept a position with the City of Lakeland.

The Lake Wales History Museum will once again be left without a permanent executive director after this week as Melissa Stoller, PhD, will be leaving the organization on January 12. Stoller took over the reins of the non-profit organization in July, 2022.

According to a board statement issued by museum President Brandon Alvarado, Stoller will be assuming a new position leading grant administration for the City of Lakeland.

Stoller came to Lake Wales from Tallahassee, where she had served as the executive director of the Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation.

The statement credits Stoller for obtaining "over $200,000 in grants, contributions, and individual gifts to further the museum's operations, programming, events, and the preservation of Lake Wales's historic corridor."

Robert Connors

The restored Seaboard Airline caboose at the Lake Wales History Museum was built in the same era and the main depot building. The museum complex include four building, three pieces of railroad stock, and two retired fire-fighting vehicles.

The museum has been closed for several months while extensive repairs are made to the principal building, a historic railroad depot constructed in 1928. During that time museum staff has undertaken major changes to the exhibits and layout of the museum.

"Melissa has been a true friend and a fantastic executive director," said Alvarado. "While I'm sad to see her leave the Lake Wales History Museum, I'm excited for her and this new professional opportunity that she has. The City of Lakeland is very lucky to have her on their team."

The board will be conducting a nationwide search to find the next museum director, according to Alvarado. The board has appointed board member Angela Rosado as interim director.

Stoller said that she would like to "thank the community, everyone who visited and supported the museum, and all of our incredible community partners."

"We want to thank Melissa for her visionary leadership which resulted in many significant accomplishments," the board statement said.

 

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