(WMC-TV) - National Civil Rights Museum President Beverly Robertson has led the museum since 1997. For 17 years, she helped the museum capture the imagination of millions and put Memphis on the map.
Robertson recently announced she is retiring, but says she is leaving the facility in a wonderful position to teach even more people about the civil rights journey.
"Every day, people can accomplish extraordinary things if they simply have the courage to stand up," said Robertson. "I've done the best I could every year of the 17 years I've been here."
When she took the position, Robertson set some very specific goals for herself. She watched the museum grow in national and international prominence.
"We've gone through and completely revolutionized the Freedom Awards event, executing a number of diverse exhibitions, you know, being recognized as an iconic site, as one of America's top 10 treasures," said Robertson.
The museum is a treasure that people come from all over to visit.
Visitors wanted to get as close to the Civil Rights journey as possible; through Robertson's legacy, they have been able to do just that.
"Now I feel as if its someone else's season, and I think the best time to leave is when you are ahead," she said. "You need to quit while you are ahead."
Even though she is retiring, Robertson is thinking of the museum's future.
"I think there are a lot of smart people, a lot of young people who need an opportunity," she explained, adding that leaders know when to step down and know when they have made a difference.
She says leaders know when to step down, and know when they've made a difference.
"My biggest accomplishment is not just positioning the museum in a different way, but it's positioning Memphis in a different way," added Robertson.
Through this latest renovation, she made sure the museum can appeal to people of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds.
"What we are doing is creating an experience through this new museum that can connect with those who are 6, 8, or 88 and that is what is significant about it," she said. "There is something here for everyone to experience."
That desire to include everyone in her mission has spanned her career.
"Each one of us has within ourselves the power to change things," she concluded.
National Civil Rights Museum board members are conducting a national search to hire a new museum president.
As for Robertson, she will not be leaving Memphis; she says it is her home.
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