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Museum of the Rockies

Pictured Thursday, April 23, 2015.

A 30-year veteran of the Museum of the Rockies will end her career as its longest-serving executive director.

Montana State University announced the retirement of Shelley McKamey, who began working at the museum in 1987, according to a news release.

She held multiple positions at the museum until 2003, when she was chosen for the top position. She will retire at the end of the year.

“I am most proud of the impact MOR has had on people’s lives, whether they were kids who were inspired because of something they saw at the museum, tourists who learned something new about Montana history or our ‘Big Sky,’ volunteers and docents who found their efforts rewarding, families who had new opportunities with their children, MSU students who pursued their career choices, or staff who saw their work contribute to the museum’s reputation for excellence,” McKamey said in a release.

Her tenure included the opening of new exhibits, the renovation of the Taylor Planetarium and the development of programs aimed at school-aged children, such as the Living History Program. Those are in addition to the iconic dinosaur fossils housed there.

The museum became a Smithsonian affiliate in 2005. A record 196,201 visitors went to the Museum of the Rockies in 2017, according to MSU.

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“She knows the museum inside and out, and that knowledge has led to a number of successes over the years at the Museum of the Rockies,” said Michael Conlon, president of the museum's board of trustees, said in a release. “We are certainly going to miss her.”

MSU said it will conduct a national search for the next executive director.

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General Assignment Reporter

Reporter for The Billings Gazette.