The Historical Society of Martin County Welcomes New President & CEO, Rob Steele

The search for a new President & CEO for the Elliott Museum and House of Refuge is over.  The Board of Directors and staff at both museums welcomed Rob Steele to the post on December 3rd.  Rob’s background is a perfect match for the museums’ varied collections, programs, challenges, and missions.

Rob Steele with the ’57 Chevy Bel Air

The Historical Society of Martin County, which is the umbrella organization for the Elliott Museum and House of Refuge, has not been immune to the challenges faced by all small museums in America.  It is safe to say that everyone involved with the organization is excited to “get on the bandwagon” with the fresh new vision and energy that Rob Steele brings to the organization.  Rob is getting up to speed very quickly and can be seen racing around town (within posted speed limits) in the museum’s Dust Pearl ’57 Chevy Bel Air with a box of donuts in hand to introduce himself to a host of other local organization with which he hopes to develop stronger partnerships in the very near future.  If he hasn’t visited your organization yet, he asks that you send him an email at  Rob has a long history of relentless commitment to the communities he has served, and he considers this trait to be the key to success.  Rob is a stoic believer in the idea that “you can build momentum quickly in a community with a comprehensively logical and thoroughly heartfelt vision.”  He hopes to craft this vision for the Historical Society and share it with every corner of the community.  One of the main priorities in his new position is establishing stronger working relationships with other local organizations.  “I’m anxious to see how much beautiful music we can make by pairing the inherent capacity and locations of the Elliott Museum and the House of Refuge with the limitless potential of exciting partnerships with other area non-profits and organizations,” Rob explains.

The new leader of the organization is considered by many to be a true “left brain – right brain leader.”  His early career in banking and business gives him a strong base to help non-profit organizations function as a business…and his years of involvement in all genres of arts and culture keep him ever in touch with the creative side of things.  “The sometimes-painful truth is that all non-profits need to function in an environment that balances dedication to mission fulfillment with solid business practices,” he explains.

One of Rob’s first impressions is that he will have to practice his juggling skills.  He is determined to balance his time, attention, and the organization’s resources to keep all of the diverse offerings of the organization optimized to fulfill the changing needs of the community.  “I hope we can develop a culture that is ever mindful of the unique interests of the community we serve.  First and foremost, we are tasked with preserving and sharing the rich history of the region.  I hope this culture will embrace the idea that the Historical Society of Martin County is the ‘umbrella’ under which the Elliott Museum and House of Refuge live.  We intend to juggle, with agility, our history, cars, arts and culture, and dynamic touring exhibits, and be ever prepared to make adjustments to the mix.”

So, what attracted him to the area and this post?  “I was pulled to this position by two teams of horses,” he says. “The endless opportunities that exist under the umbrella of the Historical Society of Martin County, and the magnificent warmth of the people who call Martin County home.”

The Board of Directors and staff members at both museums are very excited about working with Rob.  In addition to his accomplishments and fresh enthusiasm, he brings a desire to work toward achieving the Historical Society’s full potential in and for the community.