Fairhope History Museum moving forward after director fired for "performance issues"

Fairhope History Museum moving forward after director fired for "performance issues" (WPMI)

Fairhope city officials said the city's history museum is now focused on moving forward after its director was fired.

The Fairhope Museum of History has a wealth of century old artifacts, photos, and interactive exhibits. It has long attracted folks looking to know more about the quaint, quickly growing city.

"We had 65 visitors at least today. We had 75 yesterday. We had 150 visitors on Saturday, so we're here to serve," said Darby Wiik, the museum's interim director.

However, the museum will now move forward with new leadership.

According to Sherry-Lea Botop, Fairhope's Director of Economic and Community Development, Phillip Bolin was dismissed from the museum's director role last Tuesday regarding concerns about his "behaviors and processes".

Despite the setback, Wiik said they're moving forward.

"We have a great team. I think with everything going on, there's some wonderful things happening in Fairhope. I do feel it's my duty to help them put one positive step in front of the other," said Wiik.

In a statement to the Fairhope Museum of History Board of Directors, Botop explained that the city felt adequate progress had not been made during Bolin's standard probationary period.

The news came as a surprise to many residents, but Botop explained the decision was made after months of issues which were explained to Bolin.

Mayor Karin Wilson released a statement that said, in part:

"The City of Fairhope has employee probationary periods for a reason. However, we do not comment on personnel issues, probationary or otherwise..."

Officials said the focus of the museum will remain on serving the crowds of guests they serve each day.

Clay Hollowell visited the museum from Jackson, Mississippi, on Wednesday. He said he has high hopes for the future of the museum.

"To me, that's very important for a town to have its history, especially for people who have never been here to find out about it. It would be a terrible loss if they ever shut it down," Hollowell said.

A city official told NBC 15 said he has heard from Bolin regarding the firing and that the former director refutes the explanations for his firing.

A decision has not been made regarding hiring a permanent museum director at this time.

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