Mary Regan devoted 25 years of her life to the Finney County Historical Society and now her name will be permanently attached to a part of the Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City.
Members of the museum staff and the society’s board of directors surprised the retired FCHS executive director on Thanksgiving Day, during dinner with her family, to announce that the museum’s meeting room is being re-named the Mary Regan Conference Room.
New signage early in 2020 will be placed above the room’s entrance.
“Oh my,” the surprised honoree said upon learning of the honor, noting the work of many employees, board members and volunteers after viewing a plaque placed on the wall of the room. It reads: “Mary Regan Conference Room, Designated by unanimous vote of the Finney County Historical Society Board of Directors, Sept. 10, 2019 in recognition of her quarter-century of service on the staff and as Executive Director.”
The former director joined the society as assistant director in 1987 and took charge about two years later. She retired early in 2013. During her tenure the museum went through a major expansion, completed in 1994; moved to a computerized artifact management system; and became an interpretive exhibit facility, in which each display is designed to tell a story rather than simply showcasing collected artifacts.
She was also instrumental in obtaining a number of grants and launching projects to help carry out the FCHS’s stated mission of preserving the past to enlighten the future.
The Regan family continues to use the meeting facility every other Thanksgiving Day, and the plaque was prepared in advance, so it could be placed on the wall as her family looked on.
The greatest challenge, once the board voted more than two months earlier to honor the retired director, was keeping the secret.
The room is used year-round for history programs and presentations, as well as FCHS board meetings and additional gatherings. It is also available to families, businesses and organizations interested in renting the space for public or private events.