Ashley Beek has been named the new consulting director of the Porter House. She has been working with the museum's first year-round staffer, Emily Mineart, since early May to ensure a smooth transition. Mineart is taking a sabbatical beginning in August, after 8 years as director.
Beek is a 2009 Luther graduate with a background in nonprofits and project management. Porter House board members say Beek's experience and knowledge complement the museum's challenges, needs, and projects.
Although the Porter House is closed to tours for the 2020 season, the grounds and the house exterior spaces have been readied for visitors. Bert Porter's original garden arbor at the garden's alley entrance has been re-installed in memory of Jean Carter by the Master Gardeners of Decorah. Peter and Judy van der Linden head the garden work of volunteers. They invite people to walk around the house and enjoy the variety of shade plants and features as well as the numerous sun-loving plants. The exterior features of the Porter House also are open free of charge. Families are encouraged to bring their children to look at the wall of rocks and fossils collected by Bert Porter. A free information sheet is provided in a case attached to the wall. The porch area also is available for people to sit and relax and have a chat. The museum has also set up an outside scavenger hunt around the grounds of the house.
Visitors are asked remember the recommendations of physical spacing, handwashing, and face masks while visiting the Porter House.
The Porter House Museum is a private, non-profit organization with an independent board of directors. It receives no ongoing city, county or state funding, relying on work by volunteers and private donations. For more information, visit www.porterhousemuseum.org.