Hockaday Welcomes New Executive Director

Tracy Johnson assumes role at Kalispell art museum this week

By Justin Franz
Tracy Johnson. Hockaday Museum of Art | Brian Eklund

Kalispell’s Hockaday Museum of Art is getting a new executive director.

Tracy Johnson took the reins of the Kalispell museum on May 3 from Interim Executive Director Barry Conger. Prior to moving to Kalispell with her family, Johnson lived in Bend, Oregon, and she has held numerous positions at art museums in Oregon and British Columbia.

“I’m really excited for this new job because I think the Hockaday is in a time of transition,” she told the Beacon. “I really want to help take this museum to the next level.”

The Hockaday opened in 1969 and helps preserve the artistic legacy of western Montana and Glacier National Park. The museum is housed in the turn-of-the century Carnegie Library Building near downtown Kalispell that is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Art has been a part of Johnson’s life since the beginning. Growing up, her family owned a gallery and she frequently visited museums and historic sites as a child. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Simon Fraser University and did archeological field work in British Columbia for a number of years. She became curator of collections and exhibitions at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon in 2006. In 2012, she took a job as the community heritage manager at the Oliver and District Heritage Society in Oliver, British Columbia. In that role she helped secure a federal grant to complete the renovation of the museum.

Johnson said the Kalispell-area has everything she and her family were looking for in a new home and added that she’s excited to become involved in the community.

She is also looking forward to helping develop the Hockaday’s outreach programs, especially those involving local schools.

“I’m really excited to see what our team can do,” she said.

Johnson also spoke of trying to expand the museum’s collection of art. The current collection focuses on Montana artists and includes pieces from Leonard Lopp, Ace Powell and Mark Ogle.

Hockaday board president Harry Wilson said Johnson was an ideal candidate to fill the executive director position.

“Tracy, with her strong museum experience, education, and drive, will continue to raise the profile of the Hockaday as an expanding regional museum and ensure continuity of programming for the Museum’s members, artists, and guests,” he said.

For more information about the museum visit www.hockadaymuseum.org.