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Historic Spanish Point

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John Mason Named Executive Director at Historic Spanish Point

Osprey, FL, October 02, 2013 --( The Board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Inc. has named John Mason as Executive Director. Mason is only the second director the museum has had since it opened in 1982. He began working there as Interim Director in April of this year.

“When the time came for the board to assess the museum’s ongoing needs, we concluded that John’s combination of managerial experience and his work with hundreds of non-profits together with his knowledge of this community made him ideally suited to continue on a permanent basis," said Board President Mary Evelyn Guyton. "We are delighted that he has accepted the challenge of leading Historic Spanish Point into its next phase of growth and development.”

Mason has a strong combination of experience in the private and public sectors. For the past 20 years, he has consulted to non-profit organizations worldwide, including a number of museums such as the Bishop in Honolulu, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Before he began working as a consultant, Mason served as CFO of the Motion Picture Association of America.

In the for-profit sector, he gained strategic planning and financial management experience through work at organizations as diverse as The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation and PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay subsidiary.

Early in his career Mason served as a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is currently president of the Community AIDS Network Foundation.

Holding a BA from Amherst College, Mason also earned an MA from Claremont Graduate University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He has lived in Sarasota since 1998.

“I’m excited to be able to work with a terrific staff and a dynamic board to continue the museum’s outstanding programs and increase its visibility in the community," he said.

About Historic Spanish Point
Founded in 1974, the Sarasota County Historical and Natural Science Center became Gulf Coast Heritage Association in 1980.

The museum's initial acquisition was the “Osprey Archaeological and Historic Site,” which in 1975 became the first site in Sarasota County listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The site features two shell middens and a burial mound of a prehistoric Indian village, the Webb Family homestead and gardens from the estate of Mrs. Potter Palmer. Known today as Historic Spanish Point, the museum opened to the public in 1982.

Since then, over $4 million was invested in historic restorations and exhibits. In 1996, GCHA acquired use of the Osprey School, built in 1927 and also listed in the National Register. The building houses staff offices, an orientation theater, meeting room, museum shop and a branch of the county library. GCHA achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums in 2002, placing it in the top 4% of museums nationally.

Today, a professional staff and over 200 volunteers provide the museum’s services to the public. Historic Spanish Point serves an average of 28,000 visitors annually. Programs include guided tours, living history interpreters, and curriculum-based field trips for 3rd & 4th graders. Over 90,000 children have been educated through field trip experiences at Historic Spanish Point. Outreach activities include a speakers bureau, traveling exhibits, a summer camp program and the museum’s website,
Contact Information
Historic Spanish Point
Patricia Horwell
(941) 966-5124, ext. 295

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