Feb 10, 2015

Draper Museum curator position to be funded by endowment

Willis McDonald IV, founding chair of the Draper Natural History Museum Advisory Board at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, has announced a gift to endow the position of curator for the Draper.

The endowment will fund salary and benefits for the position, now officially named the Willis McDonald IV Curator of Natural Science of the Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody.

Charles Preston
“We are so thankful to Willis for such a generous gift,” says Executive Director and CEO Bruce Eldredge. “This gift, together with additional endowment contributions from other Draper Advisory Board members, ensures that we retain our current nationally-recognized senior and founding curator, Dr. Charles R. Preston, and that we attract future candidates at the same level.”

Advisory board members Henry P. ‘Rip’ McIntosh IV and Leighton Steward also made substantial contributions to the endowment fund.

“I am deeply grateful that Willis has chosen to endow this position, and humbled that I have the honor of assuming the title bearing his name,” Preston said.

As founding curator for the Draper, Preston arrived at the Center in 1998 and worked closely with McDonald and the museum’s namesake Nancy-Carroll Draper as they developed the center’s natural history museum.

“It is altogether fitting that Willis’s name, along with Nancy-Carroll’s, be forever associated with this marvelous museum,” Preston said. “The Draper would never have been created, nor flourished, without the steady hand of Willis McDonald IV.”

McDonald served as chairman of the Draper Advisory Board until 2013. He has been a member of the Center’s full Board of Trustees since 1993.

A Cody resident and an active member of the community, McDonald has been involved in numerous activities including the Boys & Girls Club of Park County, the Northwest College Foundation, and Christ Episcopal Church. An attorney, McDonald is a retired partner of White & Case, one of the largest law firms in the world with headquarters in New York City. He has remained a steadfast supporter of the Draper from its inception.

Preston has received national and international acclaim for his visionary leadership of the Draper’s design and development. A wildlife ecologist who explores the influence of climate, landscape characteristics, and human attitudes and activities on wildlife, he is widely recognized as a leading authority on wildlife and human-wildlife relationships in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

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