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Published: Sunday, 4/13/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

New director of Fort Meigs is excited about his role

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Scott Lonsdale, the new interim director of Fort Meigs, was selected over about 60 applicants from eight states. Scott Lonsdale, the new interim director of Fort Meigs, was selected over about 60 applicants from eight states.
THE ZBLADE/MATT THOMPSON Enlarge

Scott Lonsdale has a cabinet full of books to read and staff members to annoy as he continues to learn everything he can about Fort Meigs battleground and museum now that he is the fort's acting director.

"I have a great staff. They are already fed up with me asking questions," he joked Friday. "I know about the War of 1812, but I need to learn about the specifics here and be able to talk about that."

Mr. Lonsdale replaces Rick Finch, who was director for nine years at Fort Meigs until he moved back to Iowa with his wife. Before coming to Fort Meigs Mr. Lonsdale was the chief interpreter at the River Raisin Battlefield, a War of 1812 site in Monroe. He oversaw day-to-day operations, planned and supervised events, and worked with community groups to improve the battlefield.

A few years ago, the National Park Service took over that site and Mr. Lonsdale looked for work in his field.

He was selected over about 60 applicants from eight different states for the position.

"We like his enthusiasm and strong background with re-enactors and volunteers," said Frank Melhorn, Fort Meigs Association board member. "Fort Meigs operates and depends on volunteers."

As a 10-year-old, Mr. Lonsdale was a fife and drum muster re-enacter. Last week, he worked with some Fort Meigs re-enactors to try to get on the same page. A period-piece outfit for him is being put together.

"A goal of mine is to start filling out the summer weekends with things going on at the fort," he said, "even if they are small."

Another idea he is thinking about bringing a heritage music festival to the fort.

But on his plate now is figuring out the 2015 budget for the board this week. Mr. Finch has said the Fort Meigs Association operates on a budget of about $350,000 a year, with 35 percent coming from the Ohio Historical Society, 45 percent coming from the fort’s revenue, and 20 percent from fund-raising.

"What excites me the most is this is valued in the community," Mr. Lonsdale said.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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