John Kastner leaving his post this December

June 22, 2023
The Stratford Perth Museum’s Board of Directors announced June 22 that the Museum’s General Manager, John Kastner, will be retiring from his role on December 1, 2023 after more than 10 eventful years of illustrious leadership.
“The hiring of John Kastner into the newly-created position of General Manager was a pivotal move in our strategic plan,” says current Board Chair, David Stones, who was also Chair in 2013 and led the hiring process.
“We wanted to reposition the Museum as a destination for more than just traditional museum exhibit attractions. We needed to attract people to the site. And for that we needed an inventive, creative leader, a strong communicator with honed outreach skills, coupled with business acumen and a passion for local history.
“That job description had John’s picture on it and the guy’s delivered in spades.”
Kastner spent just over 10 years as the Museum’s general manager, assuming the role in June of 2013. Previously he was the managing editor of The Beacon Herald and he spent 33 years at the Stratford daily newspaper.
“I have been so fortunate to have had what really amounts to two great careers,” said Kastner. “I of course enjoyed my tenure at The Beacon Herald and wasn’t sure what would happen next when that ended.
“This past decade at the Museum has been a fantastic second career – meaningful, personally and professionally rewarding, and I like to think the Museum is in pretty good shape for the next person.”
John’s tenure as General Manager has seen the Museum put a powerful and inventive footprint on the local community, including the building of both indoor and outdoor theatres as well as the completion of a trail system that traces the history of the City and the County.
Most importantly, under John’s leadership, the Museum presented important and meaningful exhibits, some of international importance and interest, including Shakespeare’s First Folio, the Franklin Expedition exhibit from the Royal Ontario Museum, two lengthy runs of the Anne Frank House exhibit, and the incredibly popular Justin Bieber exhibit that attracts Beliebers from all over the world.
Those were in addition to new local exhibits that highlighted the railway and The Shops, the Stratford Festival, the Brooks Steam Car as well as outreach projects honouring commitments to agriculture and recognizing military service.
“It’s been a wonderful 10-plus years,” Stones says, noting that the Museum now not only has genuine relevance and an excellent reputation for stellar program delivery, but has also notched a surplus every fiscal year for the past decade and now has a small reserve fund.
“But as one era ends, another begins,” Stones added. “We have an excellent blueprint for what our Museum needs in terms of staff leadership. The search for John’s successor begins today, with announcement of a recruitment committee and job postings to follow very soon.
“Meantime, we’re all wishing John the very best. He’s done a superb job for us and deserves a long and eventful retirement. I know our Board and the local community are ready to support him in that.”

Museum board chair David Stones and General Manager John Kastner