History Behind the Scenes, Boston, MA
Founder/Principal of consultant service that utilizes over 30 years of experience to enhance and to support history, living history, historic house/site museums, cultural institutions and private individuals in the areas of Interpretive, Master and Strategic Planning; Interpretation; Research; Museum Collections and Archives Organization and Management. For individual projects and clients, go to experience tab.
French Legation Museum, Austin, Texas
Served as Director of an historic house museum, the site of a diplomatic mission from France to the Republic of Texas [1839-1841] and home to a prominent doctor and his family [1849-1940]. The site tells both stories in the original 1840 house, the oldest frame structure in Austin, and in reconstructed outbuildings. The Museum, a public/private partnership between the state of Texas [owners] and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Inc. [custodians], has 2 full-time and 4 part-time employees, plus 20-member volunteer French Legation Committee of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Inc.
- Director/ Responsibilities:
- Operations, Personnel, Fiscal Management, Development, Gift Shop
- Planning, Historic Preservation, Public Relations. Grants Management
- Visitors Services, Private Events Rentals, Special Event Management, Maintenance.
- Director/ Accomplishments:
- Upgraded museum operations, grant preparation, collections management.
- Expanded education program. Developed related curriculum materials.
- Re-interpreted 1840 house and kitchen. Reorganized artifacts to reflect period room usage and to bring focus to the two distinct habitations of the historic buildings.
- Established publications program. Developed new site brochure, school program materials, site rentals packet and self guide for on site arboretum.
- Re-organized museum archives/collections records utilizing current museum practices.
1998 - 1999
George Ranch Historical Park, Richmond, Texas
Held position of Assistant Director at a 500- acre living history site with three historic complexes, rental facilities, visitor center, rodeo arena, collection storage facility, maintenance yard, and other offices. The George Ranch interprets Texas history through the story of the family who came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin, raised longhorns, struck oil and lived on the land for 150 years [1824-1971]. The Historical Park, a joint project of the George Foundation and the Fort Bend Museum Association, has 15 full time and 44 part time staff members.
- Assistant Director/ Responsibilities:
- On-site Manager: Operations, Personnel, Public Relations.
- Fiscal Management, Planning, Historic Preservation, Grants Management.
- Interpretation, Education, Research, Collections, Publications.
- Visitors Services, Facilities Rentals, Event Management, Maintenance.
- Assistant Director/ Accomplishments:
- Record high 102,000 visitors and $1.1 million in revenue for 1998.
- Developed Curatorial department; Moved collections into new storage facility.
- Prepared for, participated in AAM Re-accreditation process.
- Developed annual calendar of programs, theme weekends, and special events.
- Managed NEH grant re: Reinterpreting 1890s Davis House Complex.
1996 - 1998
Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, Staunton, Virginia
Held two important leadership positions, Acting Executive Director (October, 1996-September, 1997) and Director of Museum Operations (January, 1996-March, 1998), at an international living history museum with four farm sites comprised of original buildings from England, Northern Ireland, Germany and the American Frontier. The Museum, a Virginia state agency, also receives support from the American Frontier Culture Foundation. In 1997, it had a budget of $2 million dollars and 35 full-time and 50 part-time staff members.
- Acting Executive Director/ Responsibilities:
- Personnel, Fiscal Management, Planning, Historic Preservation.
- Development, Grants Management, Private Foundation Administration.
- Operations: Interpretation, Education, Research, Collections, and Maintenance.
- Publicity, Marketing, Public Relations, Visitors Services, Publications.
- Board and Legislative Relations.
- Acting Executive Director/ Accomplishments:
- Managed administrative transition during interim between Executive Directors.
- Brokered substantial monetary gift/ Oversaw successful promotional events.
- Facilitated successful grant applications to ISTEA and NationsBank.
- Acquired permanent exhibit for the Visitors Center.
- Facilitated the move of the Staunton/Augusta Travel Center to the Museum.
- Director of Museum Operations/ Responsibilities:
- Interpretation/ 4 Farm Sites: Education/ Tours, Workshops, Visitors Services.
- Maintenance and Preservation for 20+ original historic buildings.
- Personnel/ Fiscal Management for Interpretation, Education, Visitors Services.
- Director of Museum Operations/ Accomplishments:
- Established annual calendar for interpretive and education programs.
- Re-organized and implemented successful 1996 and 1997 Teacher=s Institutes.
- Implemented African-American interpretation on the American Farm.
- Developed continuing training program for historic interpreters.
- Re-packaged school programs to meet Virginia=s new Standards of Learning.
- Served as Executive Producer for new Orientation Video.
County of Henrico, Virginia
Administrator, History and Historic Preservation Program, Division of Recreation and Parks
Administered a diverse program while fulfilling the two separate and distinct roles of Director of Meadow Farm Museum (1982-1996) and of Henrico County Historic Preservation Officer (1989-1996). The History Program had 6 full time and three part time staff members in 1996.
- Director of Meadow Farm Museum Responsibilities:
- Personnel, Administration, Operations, Strategic/Long Range Planning.
- Budget Development and Purchasing (operating/capital).
- Development/ Grants Management, Public Relations, Publications.
- Public Programming, Museum Exhibits, Collections; Research.
- Director of Meadow Farm Museum/ Accomplishments:
- Created annual cycle of interpretive programs, museum exhibits, and special events.
- Quadrupled operating budget and tripled staff.
- Administered MAP I, MAP II, CAP, state and corporate grants.
- Established volunteer program and Meadow Farm Museum Gift Shop.
- Managed the restoration and re-interpretation of historic building.
- Planned Collections/Archives Storage Facility and Meadow Farm Orientation Center.
- Served as Executive Producer for Orientation Video.
- Henrico County Historic Preservation Officer/ Responsibilities:
- Staff liaison for Historic Preservation Advisory Committee (HPAC).
- Developed HPAC Committee budget.
- Facilitated agenda, preparation of minutes for Committee Meetings.
- Reviewed Planning Commission cases for impact on historic sites.
- Researched and prepared reports on other preservation issues.
- Henrico County Historic Preservation Officer / Accomplishments:
- Devised administrative procedures for HPAC operations.
- Organized Henrico County Historic Marker Program.
- Project Manager: The Update of the Inventory of Henrico Historic Sites.
- Administered two federal Community Development Block Grants.
- Member of group that met with Congressional staff members in Washington, D.C. re: preservation of Civil War Battlefields.
Museum Related Employment
Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland
- Advisor, Master of Arts in Historic Preservation Program
- Serve as advisor/ instructor/thesis committee member. Topic: Standards Of Restoration In Museums That Use Architecture In Their Interpretive Programs.
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
- Member, Graduate Faculty, Department of Art History, Museum Studies Program.
- Taught 'Museum Administration,' 'Museum Exhibitions' and 'Museum Methods' to graduate and undergraduate students.
1978 - 1982
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
- Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Museum of American History (1980-1982)
- Pursued dissertation research using Smithsonian collections.
- Museum Technician, Museum of American History, Inventory Project (1979-1980)
- Inventoried Domestic Life, Agriculture and Electricity collections.
- Internship, Division of Domestic Life, Museum of American History (19781979)
- Project: The American Domestic Interiors Pictorial Collection. Established method for cataloguing depictions by material artifacts portrayed in each.
- History, Chatham College for Women/ Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA
- European History, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
- American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Doctoral Fields: American History; American Material Culture; American Rural Life; American Studies Methodology.
Dissertation Title: "Home Sweet Home: Industrialization's Impact on Rural Households, 1865-1925." Using historical photographs and general store account books, this work examined changes in both consumer behavior patterns and domestic life brought on by the introduction of mass-produced goods into farm households in the Upper South after the Civil War.
Association for Living History, Farms and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM)
- Conference Coordinator, 2007 Annual Meeting. Planned and executed professional conference in Santa Fe, NM with a national committee in a variety of time zones.
- Internal Consultant, 2003 Conference Committee. Provided advice to members of Committee planning 2003 Annual Meeting in Princeton, NJ.
- Past President. Member of Executive Committee for professional organization comprised of museum professionals from history museums, historical sites and living history venues.
- President. Served as President of 1000+ member professional organization made up of museum professionals working in history museums, historical sites and living history venues.
- Vice-President. Served as Chair of Committee on Regional Networking and on Nominating and Finance Committees.
- Conference Chair, 1997 Annual Meeting, Staunton, Virginia. Responsible for organizing and funding four-day professional conference for 360 participants, which returned over $22,000 to the organization after expenses, had been paid.
- Co-editor, 1992 Conference Annual Meeting Proceedings: Edited conference papers and presentations for Proceedings.
- Member, Editorial Committee: The Committee advises the Board of Directors on the design, content and other standards for the publications of the organization.
- Conference Chair, 1992 Annual Meeting, Winston-Salem, NC. Responsible for organizing and funding four-day professional conference for 400 participants that turned back over $10,000 to the organization after expenses had been paid.
- Member, Board of Directors: Attended Board meetings, participated in policy and fiscal decision making, carried out assignments from president.
- Organizer, Board of Directors Annual Student Paper Competition: Put out Call for Papers, reviewed submissions, chose winner and planned conference session.
- Regional Representative, Southeast Region: Managed regional funds, co-coordinated annual conference and served as information center for members in southeast United States.
- Program Chairman, Southeast Region: Planned program for annual conference.
County of Henrico, Virginia. History and Historic Preservation Program
- Executive Producer, for "A Circle of Seasons: Meadow Farm in 1860," a 12-minute orientation video for museum visitors. Additional responsibilities included art decoration and script writing.
- Consultant, Chesterfield County, Virginia. Advised Parks and Recreation Department staff on restoration, preservation and future interpretive use of Eppington, an 18th-century plantation house with connections to Thomas Jefferson.
- Editor, Meadow Farm Museum Publications: Stitched for a Cause: American Quilts of the Civil War Era, 1850-1870, (exhibit essay and checklist); A Tribute to Our Agrarian Past (public relations booklet); How the Eagle Flies: Patriotic Images in Twentieth-Century Folk Art, (exhibit catalogue).
- Writer, Meadow Farm Newsletter. "Curator's Commentary" and "Living History" columns.
- Member, Board of Directors, Henricus Foundation, Richmond, Virginia: Board developed Henricus Park, the second British settlement in North America, as an historical site.
Other Professional Activities
- Member, Advisory Board, West End Museum, a developing neighborhood museum in Boston, MA. Board advises Board of Directors on strategic planning, archives, collections and other issues related to an emerging museum.
- Archivist /Volunteer, Christ Church Preservation Trust, a Philadelphia, PA organization supporting Christ Church, founded in 1695 and with extensive archives dating to 1720. Project: Transcribing/ evaluating American Revolution era Pew Rental Records to make them available for online research.
- Member, Board of Directors, LaPilita Museum, a community arts museum in the Barrio Viejo neighborhood of Tucson, Arizona with an award winning student docent program.
- Secretary, Board of Directors, Fox Tucson Theatre, a restored 1930 movie theatre in downtown Tucson, Arizona now operating as a non-profit performance and event venue.
- Member, ACCESS (Austin Coalition of Cultural and Educational Sites and Schools) Steering Committee, a collaborative group promoting co-operation and support between Austin museum professionals and educators from the Austin Independent School District.
- Member, Austin Museum Partnership Steering [AMP] Committee. AMP is a regional organization of the Texas Association of Museums.
- Location liaison for television crews, such as Travel Channel, filming specials and promotional pieces at the George Ranch Historical Park.
- Editor, Museum of American Frontier Culture GUIDEBOOK, a 100-page illustrated booklet for to provide background on both the history of the museum and the early European settlement of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
- Executive Producer for "The Museum of American Frontier Culture," a 14-minute orientation video for museum visitors. Additional responsibilities included contracting production company, script writing, and recruiting cast.
- Consultant, Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Consultant for NEH-funded self-study of 1840s Smith-Tullie Farm. Evaluated programs and collections practices at the farm site.
- First African American Texas History Award, Award presented to George Ranch Historical Park by Houston Distributing Company, Houston, Texas.
- Meadow Farm Museum Orientation Center, Best New Facility Award (100,000+ population), Virginia Recreation and Parks Society.
- Henrico County Roadside Marker Program, Achievement Award, National Association of Counties, Houston, Texas
- Henrico Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, Achievement Award, National Association of Counties, Houston, Texas.
- Harvest Festival Poster, Best Promotional Award "Specialty" (50,000+ population), Virginia Recreation and Parks Society.
- Tourism Award to Meadow Farm Museum. Given by the Richmond on the James Foundation for Interpretation of Richmond to Tourists through Civil War Living History Programs.
- Certificate of Commendation for Museum Programs, American Association for State and Local History, Nashville, Tennessee.
- Award/Innovative Program, American Association for State and Local History, Nashville, TN.
American Association of Museums American Association for State & Local History
Association for Living History, Farms & Agricultural Museums
Association of Personal Historians
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Graduate Assistant, American Studies Department (1978-1979), Student Internship, Alexandria, VA Archaeology Research Center (1978), Graduate Student, American Studies Department (1975-1978)
History/Social Studies Teaching Experience [Grades 7-12]
The Madeira School, Greenway, VA (1973-1974); Fairfax County, VA Public School (1969- 1972); Pittsburgh, PA, Public Schools (1967-1968)
Publications and Conference Papers
Association for Living History, Farms and Agricultural Museums
Starr Turn: Interpretive Planning at Historic Sites, Farmers Branch, TX. June, 2012 .
Living History in the Family Album: Snapshots of German/ Austrian Agriculture at the End of World War II, Worcester, MA, June 2010 (Paper published in the Conference Proceedings)
Mustard, Lentils, Sugar Cane and Potatoes: Changing Routes to the Agrarian Past through 21st-century India and 19th-century Ireland, Dearborn Michigan, June 2004 (Paper published in the Conference Proceedings.)
Finding Fritz - A Tale of Ellis Island, Princeton, NJ, June 2003.
In Sorrow's Shade: Changing Perceptions of the Past after 9/11/01, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, June 2002. Past Presidential Address. (Paper published in the Conference Proceedings.)
Friendly Mirrors: Norman Rockwell's America as a Source for the Interpretation of Everyday Life, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, June, 1998. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings.)
Bricks without Straw: The Impact of Historic Preservation Functions upon Staff at a Living History Museum," Cooperstown, NY, June, 1994. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings.)
Working the System: The Living Historical Farm as a Fully-funded Creature of Government, St. Paul, MN, June, 1993. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings).
The Flip Side: Using Popularizers within the Museum/ Site Context, Providence, RI, 1990. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings).
Long Paper Tails and Slick Ink: The General Store as an Agent of Social and Economic Change in the Upper South, 1865-1925, Indianapolis, IN, 1989. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings).
The Pitfalls of Dealing with Re-enactors, Old Bethpage, NY, 1988. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings).
"Home Sweet Home" at Meadow Farm: How Dissertation Research Became the Basis for Interpretive Programming at a Living Historical Farm, Ann Arbor, MI, 1987. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings.)
In Perfect Order: Changing Spaces in Rural Kitchens, 1850-1930, Williamsburg, VA, 1985. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings.)
Association for Living History, Farms and Agricultural Museums
Southeast Region Annual Meeting
Walking the Line: Social Media and Interpretation in the Early 21st Century. Richmond, VA, 2013. (Keynote Address. Published in ALHFAM Bulletin, vol. xliii, no. 1, Spring 2013.)
How to Research Foodways for Living History Sites. Huntsville, AL, 1993.
Interpreting African-American History: My Mary Chestnut Moment, Durham, NC, 1992.
Using Replicas and Reproductions in Interpretive Settings," Golden Pond, KY, 1990.
Hog Butchering: A Last Look," Greenville, SC, 1988. (Co-author)
Association of European Migration Institutions
E Pluribus Unum: Britons, North Britons and Ulstermen on the Western Virginia Frontier, 1730-1800. Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, September, 1997. [Co-author]
Emigration Studies and Research in North America: A Museums Perspective/ Museum of American Frontier Culture, Staunton, VA, Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, June, 1996.
National Association for Interpretation
Interpreting Slavery: A Regional Challenge, Spring Workshop, Goochland Co., VA, 1996.
Museum of American Frontier Culture Teacher's Institute
Friendly Mirrors: Norman Rockwell's America as a Classroom Resource, Staunton, VA, 1996.
Shaking Hands with Divinity: Familial Roles in America before the Civil War, Staunton, VA, 1996.
Conference of Historical Societies of the Virginia Piedmont
Great Aunt Mary's Candy Bowl and Other Stories - A Guide to Collecting, Preserving and Displaying Decorative Arts, Glen Allen, VA, 1995.
Virginia Association of Museums
The Impact of Historic Preservation Functions upon Staff at a Living History Museum, Richmond, VA, 1995. (Co-presenter)
North Carolina Museum of History
Artifacts and Alphabets: Two Systems for Information Management in Cultural History Studies. Computers & Cultural Materials Conference, Raleigh, NC, 1982. (Paper published in Conference Proceedings).
The Victorian Society in America
Ants in the Sugar and Mice in the Pies: Health Concerns Emanating from the Rural Kitchen, 1865-1900. Symposium on Dining and Drinking in the 19th Century, Philadelphia, PA, 1981.