After 35 years in the newspaper business, John Kastner is taking his love and passion for local history to where it matters most.
Kastner, former managing editor of the Stratford Beacon Herald, is the new general manager of the Stratford-Perth Museum.
The announcement – which comes about six months after the resignation of former director Linda Carter – was made Thursday by the museum’s board of directors.
“We're extremely excited to have John joining our team,” said David Stones, board chair. “John brings a wealth of senior management, communications and fund development experience to this role, along with a degree in history and a lifelong love of museums.
Stones added Kastner will be a prime link in the museum’s strategic direction to continue to increase the visibility and relevance of the organization in all corners of Perth County.
In his new position, Kastner will head up the staff team and be the primary staff link to the volunteer museum board and its committee network.
Kastner said his fascination for museums and history came about honestly – his great-grandfather, George, and his ancestors trekked past the Stratford Perth Museum property in 1832 en route to new homes just west of the museum in Kastnerville and Sebringville.
“Our community museum and its board are doing a fabulous job of reinforcing the museum's role and profile throughout the county,” he noted. “I feel blessed to have this opportunity to work with this spirited team in helping to preserve the rich historical legacy of this great community.”
In addition to his journalism career, Kastner’s resume of community involvement includes co-chairing the Rotary Complex capital campaign and the city's highly touted Hockey Day in Canada in 2010.
He is chairman of Junior Hockey for Ontario and was the recipient of the Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce Personal Excellence Award in 2011.
“Museums are all about stories, and stories have been an important part of John's life for a long time,” said Stones. “With John aboard, our volunteer and staff teams are going to write some interesting history together.
“We're looking forward later this year to developing the next leg of our strategic vision. John's leadership will play a key role in breathing that vision into life.”