Toland winds up historical position

Family Living Editor

Register/Jenelle Johnson
Clyde Toland, executive director of the Allen County Historical Society and curator of its museums, will leave his position on Friday to resume his full-time law practice.

Clyde Toland wears many hats.
For the past three years he has run his law practice during the morning hours and fulfilled his duties as executive director of the Allen County Historical Society and curator of its museums during the afternoon.
Both jobs were time-consuming, but for Toland, the two positions were a labor of love. He even downsized his law practice of 31 years to allow time to indulge his passion for history and provide his community with museums reflecting Allen County history.
Toland has been a member of the Society since he was 15. The membership, which was $2 in 1962, was a gift of his parents, June and Stanley Toland.
“My mother was one of the founders of our Society in 1954 when it was incorporated as The Allen County Centennial Commission, Inc.,” to celebrate the county’s 100-year event, he said.
As a youngster Toland attended membership meetings with his parents which, he said, “fueled his appreciation of our county’s history.”
When his mother’s tenure on the board of directors ended in 1986, Toland stepped up, and continued working with the Society for the next 20 years as a volunteer.
From 1994 to 2006 the Society blossomed with the creation of two Funston Museums and Allen County Museum and the renovation of the former Gallery Museum building into the Frederick Funston Meeting Hall at 207 N. Jefferson.
In 2002, the Society began implementation of a five- year $249,450 economic development grant. The funds made improvements to the Allen County Museum possible, including finishing the back two-thirds of the ground floor. The project culminated with the sculpting and dedication in October 2006 of a life-size statue of Maj. Gen. Frederick Funston.
In May 2006 when Executive Director Michael Anderson stepped down to take another position, Toland accepted the position and given a three-year contract.
Toland cited his good organizational skills as coming at the right time to develop operating procedures and make minor repairs and improvements to various buildings, he said.
“With the help of our wonderful volunteers we have been able to enhance existing services offered by the museum as well as make necessary repairs and improvements to the buildings,” he said.
Toland said he was also pleased that during the past three years he has been able to expand the “Gaslight,” the Society’s newsletter that was begun 32 years ago by Helen Henderson. The newsletter is now frequently passed from person to person, Toland said.
Even though Toland was offered a new contract, he said he declined so he could rededicate himself to his law practice.
“I have enjoyed the past three years and appreciate all the support I have received from our volunteers,” Toland said.

TOLAND WILL be honored for his contributions as executive director at a reception from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Frederick Funston Meeting Hall. The public is invited to attend.