Over the years, figuring out how to surprise the Employee of the Month has become a major feature of the award. Supervisors and REACH committee members cook up elaborate schemes to bring folks to the Commission meeting for the announcement. Sometimes coworkers hide in a storeroom (looking at you, Public Health Clinic staff), and sometimes family members, like Lisa Jones’s husband, even appear in the audience and say “I was just in the neighborhood and needed to use the restroom.” All the scheming felt worth it this month when we got to see the joy (and tears) on Lisa’s face!
“I was floored! It was totally overwhelming and caught me off guard. They told me the Commissioners had questions about the Historical Society’s newsletter and I thought, what is my husband doing here?” said Lisa.
Creating a newsletter is only one of the many things Lisa Jones, Museum Assistant for the Riley County Historical Museum, has done. Lisa was hired in October 2021 after serving as a docent at the Pioneer Log Cabin in City Park, and is described by her co-workers and supervisor as a go-getter who is passionate about local history and loves to help with field trips. She is well respected, and we are so excited to celebrate her as June’s Employee of the Month.
Lisa’s love of education isn’t new. She earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Family and Child Development from K-State, her fifth and final major. She then returned to K-State for graduate school several years later, but was hired by the Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA) to teach early childhood special education in Germany before finishing her degree in ECSE. She also met her husband (who was stationed there in the Army) in Germany. After 20+ years of moving hither-and-yon, their last duty station was Ft. Leavenworth, and after their youngest graduated high school and Army retirement loomed, they decided to return to the area because Lisa loves Manhattan and they wanted to be closer to Lisa’s mom. (Her husband now loves Manhattan, too!)
Lisa says she always thought working in a museum would be cool and is happy to report it really is!
“There’s so much to discover about local history,” Lisa says. “I love working here. I love the people and I encourage everyone to stop by the museum. Come see the history and learn about the interesting people who founded the town. We have a new temporary exhibit starting July 1. I’m sure everyone has driven by it at some point, next time just pull in. It’s free to visit!”
Manhattan has changed a lot over the years and will continue to grow and evolve. One thing remains constant, though, good people like Lisa will always help make this a wonderful place to live.
You can visit the Riley County Historical Museum, located at 2309 Claflin Road in Manhattan, Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.