Matheson Museum director resigns after 3 years in post to take city job


In this file photo, Alicia A. Antone interviews Pat and Barney Cuddington at the Old Gainesville Depot, a former train station, during Depot Day on December 8, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla.

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 11:56 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 11:56 a.m.

After nearly three years as the executive director of the Matheson Museum, Alicia Antone officially resigned from her position on Feb. 7.

Antone said she decided to leave now because, in a short period of time, she was able to make "major accomplishments" and achieve the three goals she set for herself — to increase funding for the museum tenfold, to raise awareness about the museum and to set in motion an expansion project that included an archive library — when she first started at the museum in March 2011.

The Matheson Museum is part of the nonprofit Alachua County Historic Trust: Matheson Museum Inc., which also includes the Matheson House, the Tison Tool Museum and Sweetwater Park.

The museum was established in 1994 to preserve and interpret Alachua County's history, according to the museum's website.

Antone has moved on to work as the development and partnership coordinator for the Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department.

Antone's full-time position at the Matheson was made possible by a $1 million endowment, from which her salary was paid, according to a news release. She had received an annual salary of $42,749, according to 2012 tax forms.

She will receive an annual salary of $45,094 in her city job, compensation manager Rhonda Virden said.

Antone said her new position will allow her to serve a broader population of the community and have a greater impact through the services provided.

However, she is not really saying farewell to the museum.

The Matheson Museum, she explained, has a relationship with the city through Sweetwater Park, a joint effort by the museum and the city.

"I don't know that I would say any parting words," she said. "I certainly wish them (the Matheson Museum and its staff) well in terms of their long-term strategic goals. I just thank them for the opportunity to serve the community in that capacity."

Mark Barrow, one of the founders of the Matheson Museum and vice president of the museum's board of directors, said Antone took the museum "to the next level" but ultimately decided to pursue something different.

Antone did what was asked of her, he said, but her resignation has opened the position to a fresh mind.

"I think it's an opportunity to bring in a new perspective," Barrow said. "Alicia did a very good job with the grants, and she did a good job with the programs, but we're getting ready to expand the museum … We're hoping the new person will be heavily involved in that."

The museum is now under the guidance of Betsy Albury, who was named the interim executive director.

Albury, who has a background in education administration and who has been a staff volunteer with the museum for about a year, said she will not apply for the full-time director position when it becomes available but has enjoyed her new role in the time since Antone's departure.

"It's always a wonderful challenge to try new things and have new experiences," she said. "We have a lot of new, fun things planned. We just want to make sure the community knows about them."

Antone's shoes, Albury said, will be difficult to fill, though.

"She was certainly a very big part of the community and a big part of the museum," Albury said. "I'll work very hard to strive to do the kinds of things that she would like to see happen here."

Barrow said the board hopes to find Antone's full-time replacement in the next two or three months.

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