Public Programs Manager at Western Reserve Historical Society
What do you do at WRHS?
As Public Programs Manager for the Cleveland History Center, I am responsible for developing and implementing adult learning experiences based on the WRHS collections. These programs include tours, lectures, panel discussions, classes, workshops, and special events. The bulk of my work over the past year has focused on making these programs accessible virtually so our guests can continue to engage with our museum from the safety of their own homes.
Why is it important?
Artifacts provide a unique look into the past, and it is our responsibility as museum professionals to present them in ways that best convey their stories to our audiences. Programming is a key part of this effort. Our programs give audiences the opportunity to engage with our experts and go in-depth into our collections, ensuring that the critical lessons of Cleveland history are shared and understood beyond our museum galleries.
Why is history important to you?
History is most important to me because of the human element. Studying history, it’s easy for us to get so consumed with facts, figures, and theories that we forget the intrinsic humanity of these stories. However, it is this humanity that makes the study of history so crucial. When we learn about a historic event, we’re also learning about the millions of lives that were shaped by it. Understanding this not only helps us realize the gravity of these large-scale decisions but also allows us to better empathize with those who might still be affected by them even decades later.
Do you have a favorite figure from history that motivates you?
I am most motivated by the women of my family who came before me. I come from central West Virginia, where my ancestors settled many generations ago. Living in rural Appalachia, these women were faced with environmental and economic challenges that demanded they be resourceful, clever, and – most of all – tough. They learned the land, grew and sometimes even hunted the food for their families, and contributed to their small communities as midwives and caretakers. Their stories have greatly shaped how I live my life, and I am inspired to keep their history alive so that future generations may understand the contributions of these remarkable women.