Wyoming’s Past & Present Museum Names New Executive Director
The Laramie Plains Museum, located at the historic Ivinson Mansion in Laramie welcomes Wyoming native, Matthew Blakeman, as its new Executive Director.
Blakeman grew up in Dubois where he attended both primary and secondary school. After attending the University of Wyoming, Blakeman and his wife, Laramie native Tracy Ratliff Blakeman, lived in Casper and Jackson Hole before making a home for many years along Oregon’s rugged central coast. In late 2021, he and Tracy moved from Lincoln City, Oregon, back to Wyoming where they can be near family.
During their time in Oregon, Blakeman had a 30-year career in retail management including positions with Royal Doulton, USA, L.L. Bean, and Pendleton Woolen Mills. He also served as gallery director for the Freed Gallery of Lincoln City. He has acted, directed, and produced plays and prepared set designs and construction as well as served on the board of directors of an Oregon coast community theatre company.
Blakeman earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming in English. He was an active volunteer for the North Lincoln County Historical Museum in Lincoln City. His work there included independently researching, curating, and mounting an art show of works by artist Marcel LaRocque. In his theater experience, he has worked on more than thirty-five productions at Theatre West of Lincoln City.
Since returning to Laramie, he has been working as an apprentice volunteer clock keeper for St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral and worked on lights and sound in a production of The Unexpected Company Laramie’s senior theatre troupe.
Blakeman says, “Laramie is blessed with an amazing pool of generous folks with so much talent and a willingness to share. I am delighted to have returned to this amazing place. It is a perfect city to continue to learn, grow, collaborate, and contribute.”
He has a sincere interest in local history and has multiple ties to Albany and Carbon counties. His wedding rehearsal dinner was held at the Alice Hardie Stevens Event Center on the grounds of the historic Ivinson Mansion. His mother lived four years as a student at Ivinson Hall, the Episcopal cathedral’s Jane Ivinson School for Girls on the mansion grounds. He also has nieces who served as Junior Docents at the Museum, in past summers.
Blakeman emphasizes the significance of recognizing each person’s importance and ability to contribute to an organization. He is excited be joining the museum and says he is “eager to build upon the extraordinary legacy of community involvement and support that exists at the Laramie Plains Museum Association.” The association continues to celebrate its golden anniversary at the Historic Ivinson Mansion through the rest of this year. Since acquiring the property in 1972, the association and its devoted community of volunteers, donors and patrons have restored, renovated, and expanded the museum and its grounds extensively.
Visit the museum!
Today the museum offers guided tours throughout the year as well as providing a premier event and theater venue at The Alice Hardie Stevens Center. The former Carriage House of the estate now serves as a gift shop that offers a unique and eclectic assortment of items from Wyoming and beyond.
Adjacent to the museum complex to the north, the museum association offers two first-rate condos for out-of-town visitors or guests. These rentals are in a handsomely renovated 1883 stone stable originally built by Theodore Bath.
Available through the on-line booking site Evolve, these beautiful and well-appointed units are a great option just across the University Avenue from the museum complex.
Each of these endeavors support the museum association and its ongoing commitment to the preservation of Laramie and Albany County history from 1868 to today. Blakeman knows the significance of good communication and impact of personalized praise and good business strategies. He understands the importance of keeping properties, products and exhibits fresh and timely and maintaining the provenance of historical artifacts.
Having assumed the position as Executive Director of the Museum in August, Blakeman is succeeding Mary Mountain who will move to a new role as Executive Director Emerita and will focus more exclusively on the coordination of the Wyoming Women’s History House in downtown Laramie.
The Board of Directors is thrilled to have found a new director with the knowledge and breadth of experience Matthew brings to his new position.
For more information, visit https://www.laramiemuseum.org/