History major finds a home at the museum

The new coordinator of the Nolan Center and Wrangell Museum wasn't a fan of the big city.

So, Tyler Eagle left Spokane, Washington, right after graduating in 2018 from Gonzaga University and came back to Wrangell.

Eagle did a few odd jobs in town: fishing, working as a paraprofessional at the schools, until a job came up that was the perfect application for his degree in history.

"A notification went out on the 'Friends of the Museum' mailing list," Eagle said. "They were looking for a coordinator because Cyni (Crary) was getting overworked."

Crary, the Nolan Center's director, offered Eagle an interview four hours after he applied for the coordinator position.

Eagle is resourceful, professional and quickly became an asset to the Nolan Center, Crary wrote in an email. He won over the staff by explaining his passion for museums and curating.

He started Aug. 13.

Now, Crary handles the big picture stuff, and Eagle handles the day-to-day tasks.

Those tasks include accounting for every dollar and cent visitors spend at the museum gift shop, on admission and on movies at the Nolan Center Theater.

Eagle said his wheelhouse lies less in accounting and more in what's on the horizon for the center: artifact maintenance and display.

"There's been a backlog in cataloging of our artifacts, making sure things aren't deteriorating," Eagle said. "I need to get on top of pest management, make sure there aren't any bugs eating paper or leather."

In addition, Eagle said he will be handling new donations of objects of historical interest to Wrangell.

His coordinator job dovetails well with his love of history and reading. Eagle said he has access to archives, subject files not open to the general public and collections rooms - a historian's playground.

And, for the first month he was working at the Nolan Center, Eagle enjoyed speaking with tourists, which gave him a different perspective on the town. Hearing people say, "Wrangell is so beautiful, the museum is awesome, I love it here," made him appreciate his hometown.

"You can lose sight of that a little bit," Eagle said. "You don't appreciate the little things, like when someone says, 'It's so quiet here.' Yes, it is."

Eagle said he wants the town to know the Nolan Center has new staff. "Things may have slowed down with the pandemic and staffing issues, but we're getting back on track.


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