A museum is a place Laura Young never thought she would work. The native of Lichfield, England, has a background in forensic science and has worked extensively in hospitality and tourism. But for the recent Revelstoke transplant whose been working in her new role as the executive director at the Revelstoke Railway Museum for just two weeks, the future looks bright. Young’s enthusiasm is contagious.
“I like to throw 110 per cent of myself into every job I take on,” she says from behind her new desk. “There’s no point in coasting through life.”
And that kind of enthusiasm has characterized Young’s life.
Following university she moved to France with her boyfriend to do a ski season in 2004. That turned into a life spent in the mountains of Italy, France and Canada. Finally they decided to settle briefly in Whistler, and that taught Young how to work hard to play hard.
Young and her now husband were looking for more of a community feel when they came to Revelstoke for the first time in May of 2017. They fell in love with the town and came back in September and bought a house. They were planning to take some time off when Young saw the job posting for the position at the museum.
“I thought, let’s take a couple months off and just get the house in shape, go snowboarding,” said Young. “And then I saw this advertised on the Stoke-List, and I thought, I tick a lot of these boxes. My husband said, ‘just apply for it.’ So I did.”
Young has worked just about every job there is in hospitality and tourism, and has been involved with the Olympics in Whistler and London. Now she brings a fresh perspective to a history that has profoundly shaped our community. One she says she can’t believe has been as welcoming and dedicated as it has been.
People back home in England, Young says, are completely different and less focused on experience. But for Young, it’s really the little things: the volunteers showing up to shovel snow, or guide tours, her neighbours welcoming her, the smiles from complete strangers, that make this town such a special place to live.
Those smiles have helped encourage her to tackle a new job that she doesn’t have a manual for.
“It’s interesting to walk into a job where you don’t have a manual and you just have to figure it out,” said Young. “But the board is just so supportive and lovely. I want to make clear that I don’t want to change too much and that this is a museum first and a business second.”
That said, Young does have plans to bring in new initiatives, rent out the space, transform the website and gift-shop, and tell some of this town’s story by incorporating the use of digital media by doing things like having iPads available for visitors to scroll through some of the museum’s amazing archival photographs that have been digitized over the last two years. She also plans to increase revenue to help tell more stories and feature more exhibits.
“I am passionate about learning and education, passionate about the past,” she said. “This is an important part of my life that I’m moving into.”