Jessica Rosier, the Director of the Barker Mansion, has not always been a Hoosier. She was born and raised in northern Minnesota, which is where she first fell in love with nature. Rosier’s passion for nature compelled her into earning her master’s degree in geography with a concentration in tourism planning and development from St. Cloud State University.
Rosier recently gained her Hoosier status when she and her husband moved here not too long ago.
“About six years ago, my husband got transferred for work in Northwest Indiana, which is when I became a Hoosier,” she said.
Rosier and her husband initially resided in Valparaiso where she worked at the Dunes State Park, but then she was promoted and transferred to Indianapolis with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
“We really missed life in Northwest Indiana and in the Dunes. The Barker Mansion Director job opened up about two years ago, and we knew we wanted to live in Michigan City, so I applied, got it, and here we are today.”
As the Director of the Barker Mansion, Rosier is the secret face behind the scenes.
“I am kind of the support behind the scenes person. The Barker Mansion leads tours and plans special events, which I lead at times, but my interpreters are the ones usually leading the tours,” she said. “My job is to make sure that we have money to do these things, the marketing is going out, the websites are up to date, staff schedules are in place, and I also help to manage repairs on the building, so I work with contractors quite a bit too.”
Her favorite part about working as the Director for the Barker Mansion is being able to work with a historic building that has lots of history behind it and a lot of potential for the future.
“My favorite part about working here is that the mansion is a work in progress, with a lot of potential. When I got here two years ago, I like to say that the mansion was sleeping and it had been sleeping for a few decades and it’s my job to gently wake it up,” Rosier stated.
Rosier and her staff work to try and get people back to the mansion who have not visited in a while, as well as introduce it to those who have never been.
“We’ve been trying out a lot of different programs to get in a lot of people in their 20s and 30s to revisit this place and realize that it is a value to the community. Then, they can start bringing their kids to get the next generation invested in this place,” she said. “It is also a big goal to get people coming back again and again instead of just coming once in elementary school. We are starting to see that, so it is really exciting when we start recognizing our guests and remembering their names.”
When on a tour of the Barker Mansion, the tour guides will claim and share that the mansion is haunted. Rosier has been working as the Barker Mansion’s Director for a couple of years now, but has yet to encounter any haunted scenarios.
“I have not encountered anything suspicious, but many of my staff members have. Many of them have stories about seeing, hearing, and even feeling things when in the mansion. I do trust my team and I do believe it, but I just have not experienced it myself,” she said.
Outside of working as the Director of the Barker Mansion, Rosier enjoys being outside and supporting local businesses.
“I love being outside, even in the winter, and I think that comes from growing up in northern Minnesota. I try to go to the beach every day and walk or run with my dog. My husband and I love to go hiking, especially at the Dunes… we love the Dunes,” she said. “We also love trying new local restaurants in town. We really enjoy supporting local businesses. I love going to thrift stores and I like to quilt when I have time.”
Right now, during the mansion’s winter hours, tours are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday at 1 p.m. There are also special events that the mansion puts on that can be found on the website.
If you would like to learn more about the Barker Mansion, or see what special events are going on in the near future, click here.