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Sean Ridder set to take the reigns at Yukon Transportation Museum

Current executive director will move into specialist role
Inside the Yukon Transportation Museum. (Yukon News file)

Sean Ridder will take over the reigns of the Yukon Transportation Museum for one year beginning Jan. 4.

The museum announced the change in leadership in a Dec. 15 statement, noting current executive director Janna Swales will be taking on the specialist role of ‘museumist’, focusing on special projects, strategic planning, historical research and curating exhibits.

Ridder has been working as the operations manager since March, a role that has seen him work on digital projects and e-commerce initiatives, in administrative functions and improving outreach and programming as the museum has continued to operate throughout the pandemic.

“I am intrigued by the shifting role of the museum in society, as museums like ours across the country are reimagined as community meeting places, laboratories of ideas and caretakers of our shared heritage,” Ridder said. “It is an honour to take on this leadership role at the Yukon Transportation Museum, and I’ll do my best to make this fantastic place even better.”

The museum’s board noted they are pleased Swales will continue to bring her skills to the museum.

Under Swales’ leadership, it was pointed out, the museum adopted permanent winter hours, hosted the Ice Palace Blues music series, presented new exhibits, negotiated a long-term lease, ensured a new lighting system met museum standards, and “created space for ongoing community conversations about immigration, electric vehicles and transportation energy networks.”

“Janna’s energy and passion have pushed the YTM (Yukon Transportation Museum) forward in every way,” museum president David Nugent said. “She continually helps us rethink the concept of transportation: what it is, what it means to us, and how it has changed and continues to change us.”

For her part, Swales said she’s honoured to have served as the executive director for nearly a decade and will support Ridder as he moves into the role.

“I look forward to helping the museum continue contributing to the fabric of this community,” Swales said. “The dedicated directors of the museum’s board are to be commended for their supportive and knowledgeable commitment to Yukon transportation history — thank you. I deeply appreciate all of the board and volunteers and staff I have worked with over the past decade.”

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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