Heather Pennington joins Museums Alaska board

Early this year, our board member Sara Hay let us know that she needed to leave the board for personal reasons. We will miss having her on the team, and we appreciate Sara’s service!

This vacancy meant that, as per our bylaws, the board needed to complete a search and find a new board member. We have been interested in expanding our board beyond museum professionals—finding community members who are passionate about museums, but don’t work in them. The hope is that we will reach new people and spread the word about museums beyond our immediate circle. This new vacancy seemed like the ideal opportunity to do so.

We decided to post our board opening on Foraker’s AK Board Match site. Once you have an opening posted, you can also reach out to community members that have indicated their interest in joining boards. We reached out to two people from the site who seemed like a good match, and we also asked Heather if she might be interested in joining our board. Luckily, it turns out she was! After interviewing candidates, we officially invited Heather to join us, and she accepted.

But how could we have known about Heather, if she wasn’t on Foraker’s list? We were introduced to Heather through AAM’s Advocacy Day! Heather moved from Texas to Alaska earlier this year, and immediately jumped in to start advocating for our museums. Heather has been attending Museum Advocacy Day for three years, starting when she was a member of the board of Massillon Museum in Ohio, and when she moved her, she kept up the tradition.

This year, Patty and I weren’t able to make our usual trek to DC due to our advocacy efforts in Juneau, so we weren’t able to meet Heather in person. But luckily, AAM was able to connect us before the event, and I had a really nice time meeting Heather and talking to her about our museums.

When the board opening came up, we knew Heather would probably be a great match, but we worried that it might be overwhelming after just moving to the state. It turns out that she was game to join us, and we’re so glad it worked out!

We hope you all can meet her in person at our conference in Fairbanks!

More about Heather

Heather Pennington is the Refinery Accounting Manager for the Marathon Refinery in Kenai. Originally from Ohio, Heather recently transferred to Alaska with her husband, Emmett, son Myles and 3 dogs in January 2024. Heather has been a regular advocate for museums, having participated in Museum Advocacy Day hosted by the American Alliance of Museums for 3 years. She’s previously held positions on the Massillon Museum board including Chairwoman and Treasurer over the course of 8 years with the board. Heather has also held board positions with the Canton Ballet and Child, Adolescent Behavioral Health, and the Soroptimist International of the Americans Canton, Ohio Club and Anchorage, Alaska Club. Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in Managerial and Financial Accounting from the University of Findlay and an MBA from Walsh University. Heather currently lives in Kenai with her family and dogs; and is passionate about art, history, and new experiences.