Meet Our Faculty

One of the top benefits of Developing History Leaders @SHA is its faculty. Each year we recruit leaders from the field of history, museums, and nonprofits to provide top-notch presentations on the salient issues in the field of history and history organizations. Below is the 2017 SHA faculty.

SHA Director

Max-van-Balgooy-@-AlamoMax A. van Balgooy is president of Engaging Places, a design and strategy firm that connects people and historic places. He has worked with a wide range of historic sites and preservation organizations (James Madison’s Montpelier, San Francisco Heritage, Historic Denver, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West) on interpretive planning and business strategy, is on the Steering Committee of the History Relevance Campaign, regularly teaches in the museum studies program at George Washington University and leads workshops for AASLH.

SHA 2017 Faculty

Bob Beatty, Chief of EngagementBob Beatty. A “history geek” since elementary school, Bob Beatty is Chief of Engagement for the American Association for State and Local History, the only comprehensive national organization dedicated to state and local history, and CEO of The Lyndhurst Group, a history, museum, and nonprofit consulting firm providing community-focused engagement strategies for institutional planning, organizational assessments, and interpretive direction.

Norman Burns resized

Norman Burns is the President & CEO of Conner Prairie with more than 28 years of experience in various leadership capacities at historical institutions, most recently as executive director at Maymont, a 100-acre property in Richmond, VA. Active in the museum field nationally, he serves as treasurer and council member for the American Association of State and Local History.

Margo Carlock Resized

Margo Carlock is responsible for all aspects of operations for the National Association for Interpretation, including business planning, strategic planning, member relations, personnel management, marketing, promotions, external communications, managing partnerships, fundraising, grant writing, organizational development, and public/media relations.


Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. Prior to joining the Abbe Museum as President & CEO in 2009, Cinnamon was the director of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where she led the organization to the National Medal for Museum Service in 2008. She is the co-editor and chapter author of the Small Museum Toolkit (2012) and Museum Administration 2.0 (2016).

keeshaKeesha Dixon has served as Executive Director of Asante Children’s Theatre since 2005 and has been the lead grant writer, resulting in over $500,000 raised. Ms. Dixon has over 36 years of knowledge and experience in business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, leadership techniques, management information systems and coordination of people and resources.

francoBarbara Franco was responsible for the opening of the History Center as Assistant Director for Museums at the Minnesota Historical Society and then served as President and CEO of The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., heading up the project to create the City Museum of Washington, D.C. She served for 8 years as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Conny GraftConny Graft is a consultant in interpretive planning and evaluation for museums, parks, and other nonprofit organizations, and is retired from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 2010, where she worked for twenty-seven years as director of interpretive planning, director of interpretive education, and manager of research and evaluation. She is the coauthor of the chapter “In Lieu of Mind Reading: Visitor Studies and Evaluation” in The Small Museum Toolkit and has published several articles in History News and The Visitor Studies Journal.

Tim GroveTim Grove is a founder and leader of the History Relevance Campaign. His career at a variety of national institutions has focused on exhibition development, education and technology. As Chief of Museum Learning at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, he oversees the museum’s learning venues and currently serves on five exhibition teams. His books include The Museum Educator’s Manual and A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History. He wrote the “History Bytes” column in History News for thirteen years.


John Herbst
is the President and CEO of the Indiana Historical Society. With more than 40 years of leadership experience, John has served the New Jersey Historical Society, the American Labor Museum, the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Conner Prairie, and Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites before joining IHS in 2006.

Catherine Hughes, Ph.D., is a hybrid theatre practitioner, museum professional, educator, researcher, and author of Museum Theatre: Communicating with Visitors through Drama. She oversees theatre events and daily operations of the seven interpretive areas at Conner Prairie.


Charlie Hyde
served for eight years with Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, followed by becoming the Indianapolis Zoo’s Director of Membership & Engagement. Since September 2014, Charlie has led the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site as its president & CEO.


Julie I. Johnson, Ph.D.
J2R2 Leadership and Change Associates provides innovative organizational development strategies for businesses and entities operating in the nonprofit sector. Julie’s current research focuses on leader/leadership development, the intersection of relational practice and leadership, and leadership in complex systems.


Trevor Jones is Executive Director and CEO of the Nebraska State Historical Society. He was previously Director of Historical Resources at the Kentucky Historical Society, is a founder of the group ActiveCollections, and believes that museum collections have the power to tell amazing stories.

Mike Murphy serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Historical Society; the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce PAC Board; the Marion County Public Safety Foundation; the Board of Directors of Friends of Hidalgo; the Indiana State Republican Finance Committee; and is Chairman of CapitalPAC of Indiana. He was a broadcast journalist for 9 years and holds a Master’s degree in American History from Indiana University.

pharaonSarah Pharoan As Senior Director of Methodology and Practice, Sarah serves as lead facilitator of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience training and community engagement program. Previously, she worked as Director of Education at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and was the founding curator of the Arab American National Museum.

Laura Roberts has an active consulting practice, and also teaches graduate students at Harvard University Extension School, Northeastern University and Bank Street College of Education. Laura was executive director of the New England Museum Association and serves on the boards of the Tufts University Art Gallery, the Mary Baker Eddy Library, and Central Square Theater, as well as the Editorial Board for AASLH and the Journal of Museum Education.

robinsonJennifer Pace Robinson has worked in the field of museum experience development for over 20 years. Currently, as the Vice President of Experience Development and Family Learning at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Jennifer currently oversees all aspects of exhibit development, design, production, family learning programs, educational interpretation, and collections.

johnJohn Vanausdall, who received a B.S. in Education from Indiana University Bloomington in 1978 and an M.B.A. from IU’s Kelley School of Business Indianapolis in 1996, has been president and CEO of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art since 1996. Prior to coming to the Eiteljorg, for 18 years Vanausdall held various positions at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, including V.P. for research and planning.


A seventh generation Kentuckian, Kent Whitworth joined the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) as executive director in January 2004 and was previously director of the East Tennessee Historical Society. He entered the history profession in 1986 as the director of Blount Mansion, a National Historic Landmark in Knoxville, Tennessee. Kent participated in the Seminar for Historical Administration in 1990. He served on the Council for the American Association for State and Local History and is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Kentucky.

eleeElee Wood is associate professor and director of the Museum Studies Program in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) with a joint appointment in education, IU School of Education. In addition, she serves as the public scholar of museums, families, and learning in a joint appointment with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis working specifically on audience research and evaluation, and exhibition development.

Lawrence Yerdon is the President & CEO of Strawbery Banke Museum. For ten years Yerdon served as the first director and curator of the Quincy Historical Society in Massachusetts and in 1986 was appointed director [later president] of Hancock Shaker Village, a living history museum interpreting Shaker life, work and art.

David Young is executive director at Cliveden, a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. He has served as: director of the Johnson House Historic Site, also in Germantown, a National Historic Landmark museum of the Underground Railroad; executive director of the Salem County Historical Society in New Jersey, South Jersey’s oldest collecting institution; and education director at the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia.

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