Bong Center Welcomes New Executive Director

Dustin Heckman

Starting November 7, the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center will have a new executive director that will oversee its daily operations. The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Dustin Heckman, current Coordinator of the Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums (MALHM), will take on the role.

A 2007 graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato has led MALHM since 2018. During his tenure he has grown the organization membership by 305% and spearheaded it’s annual spring conference, growing its attendance by 93%. Prior to MALHM he served as the Executive Director of the Mower County Historical Society (Austin, MN) and Goodhue County Historical Society (Red Wing, MN).

“Dustin emerged as a leading candidate because of his impressive background in leading regional history organizations,” stated Terry Lundberg, board chair of the Bong Center. “We are excited to see how his new ideas and energy will take the Center to the next level.”

Heckman enjoys being involved with activities that support tourism, history, community engagement, and education.  Previously he has served on the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors as well as the Community Education Advisory Councils for Austin Public Schools and Red Wing Public Schools.

During his free time, Heckman enjoys watching his favorite professional sports teams, attending hockey games of his alma mater, and playing vintage base ball (using the rules of the 1860s) and softball.  His wife, Lynn, and two children, Nora and Garrett, are excited to come to the Northland and shores of Lake Superior.

Heckman replaces Hayes Scriven, who resigned after 2.5 years to become Site Manager at Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore of Minnesota. As Executive Director of the Bong Center, Dustin’s duties will include overseeing a staff of six, managing its many programs and events, facility management, fundraising and preserving the Northland’s Best Stories.

“I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to lead the Bong Center going forward.” Dustin said.  “The organization is thriving and has been one that I’ve admired from a distance the last few years.  What is so cool to me is having the ability to share Richard Bong’s story as well as the story of our Northland veterans with visitors.  As someone who married into a military family and has an uncle that served in the Navy during my younger years, I have an appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our veterans and military families and I look forward to getting to know many more through the Bong.”

About the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center

The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.

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