Washington County Museum hires new executive director
The Washington County Museum has hired Pam Vorachek as its next executive director, a board member confirmed to the Hillsboro Tribune Monday.
Vorachek recently served as the director of Antique Powerland, a steam power museum north of Salem. Vorachek was hired in 2013, following a 12-year tenure as director of the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, a children's museum in Salem.
Vorachek grew up in Ontario, Canada, later moving to Michigan and leaving the midwest to attend the University of Oregon. She said she fell in love with Oregon when traveling through the state before beginning her college studies.
"What's there not to like? It's so scenic," Vorachek said. "(Oregon) doesn't have the humidity in the summer, and there are more rainbows than in the midwest."
After graduating, Vorachek took a position as the Assistant Director of Education at Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She moved on to manage the volunteer program and group services for the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburg.
Education is her passion, along with backpacking and her farm. She said the Washington County position was attractive because of the potential for growth.
"There are lots of things to make me excited," she said. "The Washington County Museum is starting to incorporate arts and science as well as history, and that excites me."
Vorachek started on Tuesday, July 11, one day before the museum's annual Garden Party fundraiser event. Fundraising will be a major focus for Vorachek, who takes over the reins as the museum continues planning for a permanent space once a lease with the city of Hillsboro runs out in January 2028.
The Washington County Museum's exhibit space is in downtown Hillsboro adjacent to the Civic Center.
"Just in the interview process alone, she did incredible research on the museum itself and our objectives," said board member Juanita Lint. "Ahead of her start date, she has reviewed all sorts of paperwork — employee handbooks, and the contract with the city. It's just been amazing as far as being very thorough."
Lint said Vorachek would be tasked with "getting an aggressive funding program going" to ensure the museum will have an exhibit space after the contract with Hillsboro is up.
Vorachek replaces Mark Harmon, who resigned following two years as executive director to pursue a position in Florida.
Harmon worked to make the museum more visible around Washington County, adding programs focusing on the micro history of small, rural towns. The museum's finances and attendance improved in two years under Harmon's leadership, he said in an interview shortly before his resignation.
Nathanael Andreini, the museum's interim director and Director of Education, did not respond to a request for comment by the Tribune's press deadline.