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.

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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.

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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).


Colleen Dilenschneider. As the Chief Market Engagement Officer at IMPACTS Research, Colleen utilizes data to help cultural organizations maintain their relevance and secure their long-term financial futures by building affinity with onsite and virtual audiences. Widely regarded as a leader of the next generation of nonprofit executive management, Colleen is an authority on the evolution and deployment of innovative engagement practices with a unique expertise in digital marketing and millennial audiences.

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.


Anita Nowery Durel, CFRE has over 35 years of nonprofit and philanthropy experience in all fundraising programs, with varied types and sizes of institutions. She runs roundtables for museum executive directors to help them build relevant, sustainable organizations that are recognized as necessary for the well-being of their communities, and her consulting work includes strategic and sustainability planning, board leadership and structure, and executive coaching.

fileneBenjamin Filene is Director of Public History and Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and prior to UNCG, was Senior Exhibit Developer at the Minnesota Historical Society (1997-2006). He served as lead developer on Open House: If These Walls Could Talk, winner of a WOW Award for innovation and an Award of Merit from AASLH, and co-edited the book Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World (2011).

JohnFleming2__8308John E. Fleming joined the museum profession in 1980 as the founding director of the National Afro-American Museum and as a senior staff member of the Ohio Historical Society. He is the former director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center, and served as the president of the Ohio Museums Association, the Association of African American Museums and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

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.

Sarah M. Halter
is Executive Director of the Indiana Medical History Museum, in Indianapolis. She has worked in collections management at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, and was the Director of Public Programs at the Indiana Medical History Museum before being named Executive Director in 2014.



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.


Katherine Malone-France is the Vice President for Historic Sites at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, leading its portfolio of 27 historic sites around the country to provide expansive and sustainable public benefit as they model exemplary preservation, collections management, and interpretation. She is the first woman in the 65-year history of the National Trust to lead the Historic Sites department and, prior to her appointment, served as the Senior Director of Outreach, Education and Support at the National Trust.

jeffJeff Matsuoka. Since 2007 Jeff has served as the Vice President, Business and Operations for the Indiana Historical Society, overseeing the retail/wholesale, visitor services, special events, facility rentals, accounting/finance, facility management, information technology, and food service operation. From 2002-2007, he served as the Vice President, Operations and Marketing for the new Indiana State Museum, and from 1996-2002 he opened the IMAX Theater and served as the Theater Director.

tomTom Mayes is Vice President and Senior Counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and has specialized in both corporate and preservation law since he joined the National Trust in 1986. He is the author of many articles relating to, and has lectured widely on, preservation easements, shipwreck protection, historic house museums, the Americans with Disabilities Act, preservation public policy, and the importance of old places.



Kyle McKoy is Vice President of Education and Exhibits at the Indiana Historical Society where she leads several departments that include Education and Community Engagement, Local History Services, Museum Theater, Exhibit Research & Design, and Public Programs. During her 13 year tenure in Arizona, she was the Project Director and primary author for a national award-winning 4th grade Social Studies textbook, the Arizona Story.

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.


Kent Whitworth – 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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