Park/Historic Site Specialist-SteveSteve, Park / Historic Site Specialist
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Missouri State Parks
Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site

Working Title:  Historic Site Administrator

Steve has been a Park/Historic Site Specialist for the past 15 years at the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site near Kansas City, Mo. Prior to his current appointment, he was a tourist assistant and later, Park/Historic Site Specialist, at Deutschheim State Historic Site. Steve has worked for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for more than 20 years.   

Steve’s primary job duties include:

  • Directing the operation of a small historic site, which is both a cultural center and small business
  • Hiring, training and supervising one full time and three seasonal employees
  • Guiding tours through a historic house museum and developing off-site PowerPoint presentations
  • Performing light maintenance, custodial, and landscaping work
  • Ensuring the site budget is managed properly by preparing invoices for payment and developing daily, monthly and yearly revenue and attendance reports
  • Developing general management plans
  • Overseeing attainment and cataloging of artifacts and care for cultural resources
  • Developing and curating temporary exhibits and handling incoming and outgoing artifact loans
  • Ordering merchandise for museum store and managing inventory

When Steve started with the Missouri State Park system in 1994 as a tourist assistant, he held a Bachelor of Art’s degree in history from Drury University. Prior to his employment, he had worked for a year in the gift shop in the Kansas City Museum and helped out at the tourist information desk at the Harry S Truman National Historic Site. Steve also previously volunteered in the archives of the National Frontier Trails Center.

Steve has learned a great deal about artist Thomas Hart Benton over the years, and is now considered one of the top Benton experts in the country. Despite his knowledge today, Steve doesn’t believe he started out with many specialized skills as he took on his current role as site administrator at the Thomas Hart Benton Home. Rather, his past work experience and dedication to the park system is what has benefited him most throughout his career.

Steve enjoys the variety that his position brings. Every day is different and the job is not overly stressful. He also has the opportunity to educate a variety of people from many different backgrounds and places in a manner they seem to appreciate and enjoy.

Being a Park/Historic Site Specialist isn’t always fun, however. Steve recognizes that as a state employee, he is held accountable for the work he does and as such, the inevitable paperwork must be completed. As with many career paths, it’s a necessary part of the job. Even with the paperwork that most Missouri Department of Natural Resources employees must complete, Steve recognizes that working as a public servant is a positive aspect of the job that not everyone has the privilege to enjoy.

What advice does Steve have for an aspiring Park/Historic Site Specialist?

    “Working for Missouri State Parks is a great job. You get to work in some interesting and inspiring locations, with colleagues who genuinely enjoy their jobs, as well. It is important to work in the field to gain some experience, even as a seasonal employee. There are very few classes you can take that will prepare you for the specialized interpretation that goes on at all our state parks and especially our historic sites.”

To learn more about the Park/Historic Site Specialist classification, visit oa.mo.gov/personnel/classification-specifications/1230.
Check out the Human Resources webpage for more information on employment with the department.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity employer.