CLINTON — The Sawmill Museum is inviting residents to meet its new director on April 24 from 6 to 7 p.m. and to remember the Armenian Genocide.

Matt Parbs, the new executive director, will introduce himself by commemorating the Armenian Genocide through a short presentation. April 24 is the Armenian Genocide Day of Remembrance. The event is free and located at the museum. No RSVP needed, but if to RSVP for the event email director@thesawmillmuseum.org.

After a nationwide search, Parbs, the former assistant director of the National Museum of Surveying, joined The Sawmill Museum in mid-March. Parbs graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois at Springfield in May 2010 and shortly after joined the National Museum of Surveying.

His life story shows how life is unpredictable. He graduated with a degree in history and secondary education. Unable to find the right teaching job, a former history professor convinced him to go to a career fair at UIS. There he met representatives of the American Red Cross. He started volunteering at the ARC, mainly teaching Community Disaster Education. With the CDEs focusing on severe weather, he visited the National Museum of Surveying right when it opened to view its NOAA’s Science on a Sphere.

Bob Church, the treasurer of the NMoS Board, asked Matt to be his volunteer.

Since the museum didn’t have any funds, he volunteered there almost daily. Bob and his wife, Malinda, found enough money in the budget to pay him a living wage and well, the rest is history.

An unconventional journey led Matt into the museum world, but it is his calling. He volunteered extensively at the Illinois State Historical Society and the Springfield and Central Illinois African-American Museum during the same time.

The Sawmill Museum is excited to bring Matt aboard as it continues to grow into a regional center for the interpretation of the American Lumber saga.

Parbs said what attracted him to the job was, “the strong foundation of the past, the great group of people involved with the museum currently, and the vision of the museum. There is a clear end goal of a museum that is interactive and immersive, that is cutting edge and yet a chance to interact with the authentic artifacts. They currently have a product that fills these needs, but the eye is always on being on the cutting edge and one step ahead.”

“The Board saw a young man who overcame severe financial & institutional obstacles at the National Museum of Surveying to create a product that became a must-see attraction in the middle of Abraham Lincoln’s world. The NMoS board spoke very highly of Matt and said without him, there would be no NMoS. His ideas and his enthusiasm for The Sawmill were infectious. He understood our strong foundation and our vision. We are excited to see where the museum will be in the next five to 10 years, especially as Matt continues connecting our museum to the national American lumber saga & heritage” said Stephanie Brisch, president of the Midwest Lumber Museum Inc Board.

“The Sawmill Museum team is made up of two great staff members and a host of great volunteers. We think with Brenda Linville’s education and art background, Matt’s museum development background, and the irreplaceable skills of our volunteers, the museum will continue to build on the great foundation laid by previous staff, volunteers, and board members,” said Ron Kircher, treasurer of the MLM Board. “The Sawmill Museum started out as a seed. The community and our team have nurtured the museum into a robust sapling. With our current team and continued community support, we will continue to grow the museum into the interpretive center of Clinton’s role in the American lumber saga. Matt knows how to build off this great foundation and will be the leader and a member of an impressive team.”

The Sawmill Museum opened in October 2011. The museum’s current exhibits allow children to live and play as lumberjacks while visitors of all ages can be swept back to a time when lumber was king and Clinton was the Lumber Capital of the World. The museum’s website is thesawmillmusem.org and hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m., and Monday 1 to 6 p.m. The museum can be reached at 242-0343 or at director@thesawmillmuseum.org.

To learn more The museum's website is thesawmillmusem.org and hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m., and Monday 1 to 6 p.m. The museum can be reached at 242-0343 or at director@thesawmillmuseum.org.