Starting Monday, a fresh face will take over operation of Harmony Museum.
After nearly a quarter- century in her position, Kathy Luek will retire as the museum's administrator, having seen significant change in both how the museum operates and the people who pass through its doors.
“First off, I didn't even have a computer when I started here, and I did the newsletter on a stencil,” Luek, who started her job in 1996, said. “Eventually, we got a computer and a copier and we do everything in-house.”
During her tenure, the museum helped spur the creation of the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau, Luek said, and has made other meaningful contributions to the community.
Most recently, Harmony Museum raffled gift cards to area restaurants that were facing decreased business during the pandemic.
“(Another change is) how much more we are in the public eye,” she said. “We really have become much more a historic society that leads the other historic societies, especially during this whole COVID thing.”
Succeeding Luek will be Katina Koontz, formerly of the Zelienople Historical Society. Koontz brings with her a master's degree in museum curating, archiving and historical editing, as well as experience from other historical societies in southwest Pennsylvania.
“I love how it's a small little historic town and I'm really looking forward to just getting back in the field and meeting new people, still being a presence in the community and I also look forward to working with the artifacts,” Koontz said.
As for Luek, she encourages more county residents to visit the Harmony Museum, and she appreciates the wide variety of volunteers responsible for much of its inner machinations.
“I really couldn't have done my job for the last 24 years without the volunteers that we have here, for events and for just day-to-day workings of the museum and stuff, we really need that volunteer participation to keep us running and keep it open and active,” she said.