Wednesday, November 3, 2010
1:40 PM | Edit Post
|Dan Benton with Pam Watson and Quantia Fletcher at lunch on Heritage and History Day.|
Yesterday was a sad day for all of us at MTCC. We said goodbye to our friend and co-worker, Dan Benton. We drove to Hot Springs for a celebration of his life at First United Methodist Church in Hot Springs. Dan was killed in a car accident on Thursday, October 28. He was coming to work at MTCC when his car crossed this center line on Highway 70 and hit another vehicle head on. For many of us at MTCC, we have never lost someone so young and so full of life. It has been a shock to all of us and we will miss Dan's excitement toward life and his love of his work at the museum.
Dan came to work here last spring. He was hired at a part time employee and worked with the Education Department. He was a graduate of the Public History Program at UALR and was a wonderfully curious historian. I think the best trait for a historian to have is curiosity. Without curiosity, a historian would stop with the first source and not answer the question or solve the historical problem. Dan was also focused and determined. He would analyze a historical question and would focus on the problem at hand until it was resolved. He had a bright future ahead of him and his life was cut too short.
Dan was working on a museum loan box about negro baseball when he died. His mother told me that he was so excited about the paper he was working on and that he wanted to show it to us. The loan box will be completed in the next year and we will dedicate it to our friend, Dan. But more exciting than the loan box was Dan's new responsibilities in the museum library and collections department. When we installed the traveling exhibit The Fine Art of Jazz in the Changing Exhibit Gallery, Dan played an important role in assisting myself and Curator Bryan McDade. It was obvious to me that Dan's true museum calling was collections work. So on the Tuesday before he died, I announced to the staff in Staff Meeting that Dan would be transferred from the Education Department to the Curatorial Department. I know that Dan would have been excited about this new opportunity. He had already begun working on updating and "fixing" our out-of-order library! It was my great pleasure to work with Dan and help him figure out what he wanted to do with his museum work.
What I will miss most about Dan is his smile, his singing, his funny expressions, and his movie quotes. He would always come by my office and holler "Hey Boss!" I told him once not to call me that but he still did. And now that is the thing I will miss most. So see you later my dear friend.
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