Posted on Apr 13, 2018

Hank’s steady, thoughtful personality combined with his thirty years of experience provided Bainbridge Island Historical Museum the robust and stable guidance it needed to thrive.

By Ann Warman

After a decade of leadership, long-time Islander, Hank Helm, is retiring from the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum (BIHM) to pursue new adventures. He took command as Executive Director of the Museum during the turbulent years of 2008 when many local businesses and nonprofits were struggling with the after-effects of failed banks and the tight economy.
Hank’s steady, thoughtful personality combined with his thirty-year experience at C-level corporate leadership provided BIHM with the robust and stable guidance it needed to advance to its current level.
During Hank’s ten years with BIHM, the organization received 14 awards from state and national evaluators. And, Hank and his team have grown visitors from 2000 a year to well over 14,000 annually. The organization’s employees have also increased in numbers from one full-timer with one half-time curator, to a staff of five.
For nonprofits, dedicated, active fundraisers and loyal supporters are essential for year-to-year success. Hank kept membership building, visitation growth, grants, and fundraising events ever-present on his BIHM agenda. He also recognized that bequests from crucial donors are essential to BIHM’s continuity and growth, so he developed legacy programs to cultivate philanthropy and commitment.
In addition to BIHM and Bainbridge Rotary, Hank has been a 10-year member of the legendary Oatmeal Club, a lively gentlemen’s breakfast group that meets every Thursday for local discussion. Established as a renown regional rhododendron expert, Hank frequently speaks to gardening organizations across the Pacific Northwest. He also serves on the board of directors for the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association and will remain active in this responsibility that is dear to his heart.
About the Museum’s future, Hank says, “As BIHM approaches a new year, it is on solid ground with potential for excellent growth. The building could be expanded to increase educational resources for students and teachers. The historical programs are ever-popular and could be developed to continue growing community participation. I’m proud of the stability we’ve achieved over the last ten years for this incredible Island asset.”
Hank will stay on at BIHM for several months as a consultant while the organization transitions into new leadership. About Rotary, Hank tells us that he loves our goodwill mission and being part of our Rotary family. He enjoys participating in Auction and hopes to settle into working solidly with one of the departments this year.