The Roundup -

Simmonds Leaving MonDak Heritage Center


Kim Simmonds and Leann Pelvit worked jointly on "Sidney," which will be released July 29.

The MonDak Heritage Center will be saying farewell to their Executive Director, Kim Simmonds, on June 17; Simmonds has been a part of the Heritage Center for nearly two years, having moved to Sidney with her husband's job in the oilfield.

"I've learned a lot in the time I've been here," she commented. "I was able to bring changes to the MonDak Heritage Center, and I'm excited to see how the organization continues to grow in the future. I'm leaving it in good hands with Jessica Newman. She's the education coordinator and has grown the program in ways not thought possible."

Simmonds has always felt the Heritage Center was the cultural hub of the community and has succeeded in expanding the exhibits ten-fold and focused on cultural programming. Her greatest accomplishment since moving here has been the publication of Sidney, a book she worked on with administrative assistant Leann Pelvit.

"I started doing research about the area four months after moving here; I went through old newspapers, books about Sidney, and the Heritage Card files. Leann found and organized all the pictures and I did all the writing. It pushed me to learn about the area and really develop an appreciation for this community and its history," Simmonds said of Sidney which will be released on July 29.

Simmonds maintains her dedication to the MonDak Heritage Center right up until the very end, overseeing recent and exciting changes such as the remodel of their gift shop. Sunday, May 29, through Tuesday, May 31, were spent cleaning, painting, and putting in new shelving; the renamed MonDak Mercantile has new display items and new merchandise, including art kits that Simmonds and Newman put together based on their most popular art classes.

Another exciting happening is the relocation of the Fort Union model, previously displayed in the MonDak Heritage Center's basement; part of it is on display at the James Memorial Center in Williston, ND, while part of it will find its way to Fort Union.

The model was built in 1964 by a group of 8th graders for Fort Union Days, prior to the reconstruction of Fort Union itself.

"The model was on display at the Lalonde Hotel during Fort Union days in 1964; it was on display at the fort in 1972 as a push for reconstruction," explained Simmonds. "It was donated to the J.K. Ralston Museum in 1973, which later became the MonDak Heritage Center when it was opened in 1984. The model has been on display there since."

Simmonds' husband, Andrew, began working at the Fulkderson-Stevenson Funeral Home in January of this year, and the couple is preparing to move to Denver, so that he can complete his studies in Mortuary Science. As the board prepares for the application process, board president Joe Bradley will be taking over in the interim.

"I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity to serve as the Executive Director here as well as being part of the community. This has been an amazing trip and I'm going to miss working at the MonDak Heritage Center a lot," Simmonds concluded.


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