Regular patrons of the Sooke Region Museum may think they see a new face wandering the site, which is actually not a new face at all.
As of this month, Lee Boyko took over as executive director of the museum — again.
“I started Sept. 1 but I’m recycled, because I actually ran the museum 15 years ago.”
Boyko, born and raised in Steveston, first managed the facility in the late 1980s, taking over for Elida Peers at the time. He saw the original job opening for Sooke when he was helping run the Museum of Northern B.C. He stayed for five years before moving on to work for the British Columbia Museums Association in an educational capacity as a professional development coordinator, helping train employees in museums across the province. He said the timing was right in his career to return.
“(Sooke Region Museum) gave me a call and said ‘Would you be interested in coming back to run the museum again?’ And life circumstances were such that yeah, it made sense.”
Replacing Linda Eversol, Boyko will be looking after everything from curatorial duties — working with the artifacts and exhibits — to administration such as grant writing. In a smaller museum, a director has to “put on a lot of hats” including janitor, he said, laughing.
His immediate focus for the facility is to expand on programming.
“More youth programs, more lecture series, that type of stuff.”
He said beyond that, there is some general maintenance that needs to be done and organization of exhibits to make more efficient use of the space to allow for future expansion.
“We’re pushing the limits of what the site can do, but there may be some things there.”
Finding innovative ways to draw public interest to museums is what got Boyko to fall in love with museums as a teenager over 30 years ago. His career has taken him all over B.C. and Saskatchewan, but his first exposure was close to home.
“In Steveston I got to know a gentleman, he was starting a historical society there. Harold Steves is his name, and he asked if I wanted to be involved. And that’s it, everybody should be asking young people to get involved, I think that was the key thing for me.”
He was invited by Steves to help get the Steveston Museum started up, and soon became “a jack of all trades” performing research and developing new exhibits.
“I was actually a founding board member, although I don’t think legally I was allowed to be a board member at the time because I was 14.”
As the son of a filmmaker with the National Film Board, Boyko’s childhood wasn’t like that of most people. He said he spent a summer at Fortress Louisbourg in Cape Breton Island when he was 10 that was particularly memorable.
“For a kid to have a fort, 50 acres to play in (it’s amazing). So history has always been an interest.”