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Remington Art Museum executive director Laura Foster, along with the museum's newest Remington art acquisition.  Photo:  Todd Moe
Remington Art Museum executive director Laura Foster, along with the museum's newest Remington art acquisition. Photo: Todd Moe

Managing art and staff at the Remington

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The long-time curator at the Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg is settling in to her new role as director of the museum. Laura Foster was appointed executive director last fall, and now wears two hats - overseeing staff, budgets, development, public relations, and the collection of Remington's artwork.

Todd Moe spoke with Laura Foster about her new roles as director and collections manager of the Ogdensburg landmark. Foster, a Remington expert, is hoping her more than 24-year curatorial role will help her direct the museum.

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Some of the newly restored windows in the Tiffany Room at the Remington Museum in Ogdensburg.  Photo:  Todd Moe

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Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

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Laura Foster is working with the board and staff and volunteers on a couple of grant opportunities to support program, including a new cell phone based audio tour. Google is coming early in the year to do high resolution scanning of the collection in the gallery to share with the world through their Google art project website. They’re bringing a google tracker which is an indoor version of the street view technology, so individuals will be able to tour the galleries and to get a sense of the physical geography and make a virtual visit to the museum. Users will be able to click on the artwork and see it detailed and close up.

Also, the staff is more than 95 percent done with the restoration of the museum. The crew has moved inside to do some inside window repairs. They finished the west wall within a heating scaffolding thing they set up. Laura says “It’s kind of easy to suddenly take it for granted, but it’s wonderful to talk to people who had just come up upon the place and are so used to the old appearance.” She adds that the museum won’t be falling down for a very long time.

Another really great milestone in the project is the restoration and return of the museum’s stained glass windows in the Tiffany room. These are French-made bay windows that were installed in the 1890s.  

Laura says that the big fundraiser for the museum began in 2008. At the time it was a $4.5 million project. However, there have been setbacks, and they are just about finished with a total near $1.6 million. It used to be three major efforts:  the restoration of the building, growing the endowment and new initiatives in education and programming. That was at the beginning at the economic downturn and they scaled back and got done what had to be done at the time.

But Laura says that things are looking better in many ways, "one of my big focuses in fundraising as the museum director now is to talk to as many of our supporters as possible about the importance of leaving a legacy to the Fredrick Remington Art Museum.

"Having a director and curator puts a little more emphasis on building the collection," Foster says, "The way that we will be able to make significant improvements and holdings is always going to be through gifts and requests."

The museum cannot afford to fundraise or to spend in any way to buy Remington originals on an ongoing basis because it’s just not economically feasible says Foster, but they are presenting themselves as a worthy repository to promote Remington’s legacy, says Foster.

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