The Hieronymus Mueller Museum (HMM) opened its doors in the Central Illinois city of Decatur in 1995. In 2005, HMM relocated and built its 8,000 square foot site next door to the Mueller Company. The museum annually averages about 1,500 visitors. HMM is a private organization and is primarily funded through the Mueller family’s Hieronymus Mueller Family Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. The family’s objective for the museum is to share with the public the history of the Mueller Company, the Mueller family, and its employees.
The history is a rich one and represents a classic American dream story. Hieronymus Mueller immigrated to America in 1852 and founded Mueller Company in 1857. The company remained in family ownership for 132 years. The family sold it in 1986. Hieronymus Mueller strived to make everyday life better through invention. That notion represents the HMM brand. Hieronymus Mueller and his sons obtained 501 patents including water pressure regulators, faucet designs, the first sanitary drinking fountain, a roller skate design, and a bicycle kick-stand. He became enthralled with automobiles, importing a Benz from Germany in 1892. Hieronymus Mueller was awarded patents for a reverse gear, water-cooled radiator, newly-designed spark plugs, and a make-and-break distributor. He built seven automobiles. The enduring industry that the Mueller Company became nationally known for is water and gas distribution. Its most recognizable product is the Mueller fire hydrant. The company produces over half the hydrant volume in the United States, both under family ownership and to this day, Today Mueller Company operates as a division of Mueller Water Products, a NYSE-listed company.
The Board and staff operate HMM, the Board at the strategic level and the staff at the tactical level. The Board is comprised of four Hieronymus Mueller descendants, a Mueller Company representative, and a community volunteer who is also a Mueller Company retiree. Board meetings are held quarterly via telephone, as most board members are remote. The staff is comprised of a Director, Assistant Director, Museum Associate, and Consultant.
Looking forward, the Board seeks to grow significantly HMM’s first and repeat visits and geographic awareness. To facilitate this, the Board has authorized that the director will be a full-time position for the first time in HMM’s history. The Board has identified four core strategies in place for the Director to execute: (1) Collection , (2) Visitor Experience , (3) Community Engagement, and (4) Marketing.
The Director of HMM will draw from considerable experience, professional skills, and education to advance the museum’s mission of collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of the Mueller Company and the family and descendants of Hieronymus Mueller. The Director will develop substantial knowledge of the overall family story and effectively represent this to the public through community engagement events, museum tours, newsletters, and social media outreach. A successful candidate will be able to lead, manage, and collaborate with staff, conduct daily and long-term administrative operations. While working closely with and reporting to the Board of Directors, the Director will implement the core strategies by delivering tactics that grow first and repeat visits, enhance the in-person and virtual museum experience, and enthusiastically help move HMM into the next phase of its growth.