Caption: Old Sturbridge Village President and CEO James E. Donahue.
Photo Credit: Erika Sidor
Old Sturbridge Village Trustees Extend the Contract of President and CEO James E. Donahue
STURBRIDGE, Mass. (Jan. 22, 2014) – The Old Sturbridge Village Board of Trustees recently voted unanimously to extend the contract of the museum’s president and chief executive officer, James E. Donahue, of Cranston, R.I., through June of 2017.
Dick Schulze, Chairman of the Old Sturbridge Village Board of Trustees, lauded Donahue’s successful leadership of the organization during his tenure, which began in 2007. “Jim Donahue has been the catalyst for significant performance improvements at the museum including stabilizing attendance, and increasing education field trips and fundraising during his time here. Jim took over at a challenging point in the Village’s history, yet has led the organization to recent success and has positioned Old Sturbridge Village for an even brighter future,” said Schulze.
Donahue led the reopening of the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges at the Village in 2013, expanding the Village’s operation to include museum, dining, retail and lodging. The historic 10-room Old Sturbridge Inn, in the Oliver Wight House, is on the National Register of Historic Places and dates to 1789, while the 29-room Reeder Family Lodges offer a more contemporary choice for visitors. This major initiative will allow the growing museum to better serve its diverse range of guests, including leisure and business travelers, wedding parties, corporate retreats and meetings.
Donahue’s leadership and achievements were recognized formally in October of 2013 at the 26th Annual Massachusetts Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism. Donahue was one of the recipients of the Larry D. Meehan Award, presented by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to individuals who have made major contributions to the expansion and vitality of the state’s tourism industry.
In 2012, Donahue was instrumental in developing a $500,000 partnership with Country Bank, headquartered in Ware, Massachusetts, to fund the Village’s education programs. More than 65,000 school children annually visit Old Sturbridge Village on field trips, and a majority of school groups augment their visits with hands-on learning in the Village's education building, now named The Country Bank Education Center in honor of the contribution.
Other notable achievements during Donahue’s tenure include the creation of the Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award, record-breaking days for attendance on multiple occasions, and the launch of a Distinguished Speaker series. Donahue also rebuilt the Collections exhibit program, with a Collectors’ Forum at the beginning of each new exhibit – the most recent being Delightfully Designed: The Furniture and Life of Nathan Lombard.
With an economics degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, Donahue began his career in banking, but switched to education after discovering a passion for teaching. Prior to joining OSV, Donahue was CEO of the Bradford Dunn Institute for Learning Differences in Providence, Rhode Island, and founded Highlander Charter School.
Old Sturbridge Village is one of the largest living history museums in the nation, celebrating life in early New England from 1790 – 1840. Located just off the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes I-84 and 20 in Sturbridge, Mass., OSV is open year-round, but days and hours vary seasonally. The Village offers lodging at the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges and several dining options on-site. For more information, visit www.osv.org.
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