Search continues for new Rankin Museum director

By: Staff report

ELLERBE — It may be next fall before the Rankin Museum of American Heritage signs on a permanent director. Until then, former intern Emily Cobb will act as interim director.

Cobb, who graduated from Appalachian State University last May with a degree in biological anthropology, spent several weeks working with former director Gail Benson before Benson’s retirement in November. Benson had managed the Rankin for 31 years.

“We never wanted to see Gail go,” said Brett Webb, chairman of the board for the museum. But “it’s been great having (Cobb). She’s done an amazing job.

“It’s worked out very well for us” having a qualified person step into the director’s role, Webb said Tuesday. Unless she changes her mind about continuing her studies, Cobb will not be considered for a permanent role, he said.

“We’re not in a bind where we have to make a decision right this second,” Webb said.

Before she left, Benson also said she was leaving the Rankin “sitting in a good place. … I get calls all the time” about people who would like to work at the museum.

Benson’s departure passed without fanfare, at her own request, Webb said. Board members organized a small gathering for her, he said, and christened the museum’s new flume in her memory. Built in the Rankin’s backyard, the flume is a place youngsters can “mine” for minerals and fossils.

Staff report