The Board of Directors of the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society has hired Holly Kozelsky as its full-time executive director following a statewide and regional search. She will begin on October 1, which coincides with the first day of Local History Month in Virginia.
Kozelsky’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for our Historical Society with the museum annex expected to be completed by next summer.
“We are blessed to have secured an individual of Holly’s caliber and experience. She is the right candidate at the right time,” John Phillips, president of the society, said in a release. “With this announcement, I must commend the current and previous Boards of Directors and volunteers who have completed the work of the Historical Society over the past 27 years with intermittent part-time help. Roles and responsibilities may change, but the Board’s love for and commitment to our work will endure.”
Beth Chapman will continue as the part-time Office Coordinator.
“I have had the rare fortune in life that I have loved every minute of my job,” said Kozelsky, a former editor of the Martinsville Bulletin. “That sets the standard pretty high for a career change, and so I wouldn’t want anything less than a fulfilling and exciting role in the community. Being the director of the MHC Heritage Center & Museum is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a museum through a significant expansion such as what the Historical Society is doing now.”
The expansion will allow the center to house “Dr. Mervyn King’s nationally recognized collections, including tools, Marklin toys, antique steam engines, and Native American artifacts,” Kozelsky said. “That puts the museum on two levels: of local interest — this community is appreciative of its rich history — and of national and even international interest, to history buffs from all over who have specific, unique interests in those collections. What a boon to our area!”
Kozelsky holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked for the Martinsville Bulletin for 18 years as copy editor, reporter, Accent Editor and, for the past two years, as Editor. Before that, she was a real estate agent and a Spanish-language interpreter for 10 years in her hometown of Siler City, North Carolina.
She and her daughter, Mary, a freshman at Magna Vista High School, live in a century-old farmhouse in the Dyer’s Store community with their dog, cats, birds, and chickens. Kozelsky enjoys gardening, fixing up her old house in a manner appropriate to its age, and visiting museums. She and her daughter often take long trips and never make their appointed arrival times because on a whim they will stop in at any history museum whose sign they see along a highway.