Reno County Historical Society Names New Strataca Director

Posted on December 17th, 2015

The Board of Directors for the Reno County Historical Society today announced that Mary Grace Clements has been hired as Director of Strataca – Kansas Underground Salt Museum.

“We feel very fortunate to bring Mary Grace on board at Strataca and believe she brings a wealth of leadership and business experience to this role,” said Laura Snyder, 2016 chair-elect for the RCHS Board. “Mary Grace has demonstrated a passion for Strataca and for leading people, and those two factors heavily influenced our decision to offer her this position.”

Snyder said Clements was chosen by a committee of board members after a thorough search process.

Clements joins Strataca with more than 20 years of management and executive-level experience with three different airline carriers, where she helped develop and launch revenue-generating programs, increased operational efficiencies and managed and developed both front line and management-level employees. Most recently, Clements was Vice President of Customer Operations at Allegiant Travel Company in Las Vegas. In 2014, Clements moved to Hutchinson to be closer to family. Raised in a rural area on dairy farm in upstate New York, Clements said she feels very at home in Hutchinson and has quickly begun to get involved in the community, participating in a Family Community Theater production and coaching girls’ basketball for Nickerson High School.

“I am so very excited to have this opportunity,” said Clements. “Strataca is an amazing and unique place to visit here in Hutchinson. I look forward to working with the dedicated team of employees and volunteers who, along with Linda Schmitt, have built a wonderful attraction for people to experience. It is impressive what they have been able to accomplish and I look forward to continuing its growth and success.”

Clements, who will begin Jan. 6, will lead RCHS’s 650-foot-deep attraction and museum and manage its 30+ employees and volunteers. In part, Clements will replace outgoing Director of RCHS Linda Schmitt, who retires Dec. 18. Schmitt oversaw both Strataca and the Reno County Museum. While Clements’s primary focus will be on Strataca, she will also oversee the Reno County Museum and curator Ashley Maready who is currently managing operations at the museum.

The Reno County Historical Society oversees Strataca – Kansas Underground Salt Museum, and the Reno County Museum. Strataca, located 650 feet below Hutchinson in a mined-out area of the former Carey Salt Mine, is the only attraction of its kind in North America. It has been named one of the “Eight Wonders of Kansas” and was recognized in 2014 by TripAdvisor’s FlipKey subsidiary as one of the “Top Museums Worth Traveling For.” The Reno County Museum, also in Hutchinson, collects, preserves, interprets, and shares the history of Reno County, Kansas, to inspire awareness and appreciation of the past for present and future generations.

Strataca is open 9 to 5 daily, 1 to 5 on Sundays, and closed Mondays. The last tour is at 3