Ken Furst, chair of the board of directors of the Dubuque County Historical Society and its National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, has announced that Jerry Enzler, president & CEO, has informed the board that he will retire at the end of 2016.
Enzler was hired in 1977 as the first full-time employee of the Dubuque County Historical Society and is the founding director of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Considered to be the most comprehensive river museum in the world, the Smithsonian-affiliated organization has been the catalyst for hundreds of millions of dollars in riverfront development for Dubuque and has served 2.3 million visitors in the past 12 years.
Enzler, a visionary leader and fundraiser, helped transform Dubuque’s riverfront in 2003 with the America’s River project. He and his colleagues worked with leaders from the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Dubuque, and several other partners to implement the $188 million riverfront development project.
He led five major building, program, and fund raising efforts for the Historical Society including: establishment of the Fred W. Woodward Riverboat Museum; acquisition and restoration of the steamboat William M Black from 1979 to 1982; completion of the Woodward Riverboat Museum; establishment of the National Rivers Hall of Fame; restoration of the Mathias Ham House from 1984 to 1987; development of the Iowa Welcome Center building and continued growth of programs and endowment from 1988 to 1992; the America’s River project which established the William Woodward Mississippi River Discovery Center; Wetland; Boatyard; and restoration of the Depot from 1997 to 2003; the America’s River II project which doubled the Woodward Campus of the Museum & Aquarium with the Diamond Jo National River Center; Rivers to the Sea; RiverWorks Splash Zone; 3D/4D theater; and Mississippi Plaza; and increased endowment from 2006 to 2012.
A recognition event for Enzler, to be announced later, will be held in 2016.