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Mower Historical Society director heading for Goodhue County

AUSTIN — Dustin Heckman, executive director of the Mower County Historical Society for the past 5.5 years, has resigned and will take a similar position on March 31 with the Goodhue County Historical Society in Red Wing.

"I have a young family getting started and I needed to look for new opportunities," he said.

Mower Historical Society President Glenn Medgaarden on Tuesday tried to keep Heckman, who he praised for all his work, by asking the Mower County Board to kick in about $12,000 more to match the Goodhue offer. He said it's hard to get someone of Heckman's quality.

The board, however, said it doesn't want to start doing that, especially with groups it helps to fund. It now gives the society about $34,000 a year.

Heckman said he might have reconsidered his resignation if the county board had agreed and said he will miss Austin and the local historical society.


"It's been great to be here in Austin," he said.

He grew up in Truman, earned a history degree at Minnesota State University Mankato and was Martin County Historical Society director before coming to Austin in November, 2008.

In Austin, he said he worked to improve processes as well as grow awareness of the society and its work. "We have done a great job of improving programming" and reaching out to the community, he said.

Good things will continue when he leaves, he said. "They are set up for good things in the future," he said.

In Red Wing, he said he wants to continue that work. "I'm looking at the opportunity for leading them into the future," he said.

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