Speakers Presenting at the 2018 Iowa Museum Association Annual Meeting and Conference
October 7-8-9, 2018 in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Dave Barland-Liles has been a law enforcement officer for the National Park Service for 23 years both as a park ranger and a special agent.  He was the sole investigator that solved the crime at Effigy Mounds National Monument.  He is also the nations sole civil investigator for the National NAGPRA Office.  After thirteen years as a special agent he recently accepted a position as the Lead Ranger of Effigy Mounds National Monument to help the agency through an intense healing process and toward a better future.

Matthew Beyer is the Museum Education Coordinator for the State Historical Museum of Iowa.   A 2015 Iowa State University graduate, he was a history major and minored in women's studies.  During and following his time in college, he held positions at both University Museums and Living History Farms.  Matthew also currently serves as Membership Vice Chair for the Young Alumni Council at ISU Alumni Association.

David Bright is an attorney with Pugh Hagan Prahm PLC in Coralville, Iowa. He regularly advises museums and cultural organizations on a variety of issues, including charitable giving, human resources, deaccessioning, provenance, intellectual property and corporate governance.

Jennifer Cooley has worked as the Education & Outreach Manager at the State Historical Museum Iowa since 2015, but has over 18 years of museum education experience. In her current role, she manages the statewide education efforts to help teachers of all grade levels integrate Iowa history into their curriculum. 

Brian Crockett is an advocate for excellence among America’s rural cultural organizations. As such, he is a small museums junkie. Brian is co-founder of Museum on Main Street, a national humanities partnership with the Smithsonian Institution that has taken him nationwide in the support of rural museums. In recent years he has worked with ExhibitsUSA to conduct museum research projects for the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Irvine and Knight Foundations. He has also directed in-depth needs assessments for state arts councils in Texas, Nebraska, and Arkansas. Brian acts as humanities consultant to the new NEH on the Road traveling exhibition initiative and is co-director of the Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Texas HELP initiative, a Hands-on Experiential Learning Program created to spark improvement with select museums in the Lone Star State. A noted speaker, Brian presents frequently nationwide and conducts workshops in topics as diverse as board development, community relations, advocacy, public programming, and rural cultural development. A native of New Mexico, Brian attended Hanover College in Indiana and graduated with bachelor and masters degrees in English and Arts Administration respectively from the University of Utah.

Jess Cruz has been the Exhibit Preparator and Outreach Coordinator at the UNI Museum since 2013. She received her Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Western Illinois University. During her time at UNI she has helped to move the museum to a new location, re-established educational programs, assessed collections, and develop exhibits. Prior to that she has worked at the Figge Art Museum and the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, where she also worked on exhibits and educational programs.

Noah Doely is Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Northern Iowa. He works across various media, primarily in photography, sculpture, and video, and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. His work posits questions about truth, fiction, and subjectivity, primarily in relation to the medium of photography. He assists in the curation of the FI project images.

Bettina Fabos is an Associate Professor of Visual Communication at the University of Northern Iowa. Both a scholar and producer of digital culture, her written and creative work revolve around digital culture, digital visualization, digital photo archiving, and the Creative Commons. Her most recent creative works are Fortepan Iowa [fortepan.us], a public photo archive of everyday Iowa life, and the interactive timeline project, Proud and Torn: How My Family Survived Hungarian History, [proudandtorn.com], and extensive photo history of Hungary based on amateur family snapshots. With a background in media production and media literacy pedagogy, Fabos has written extensively about the role of the U.S. media in democracy and Internet commercialization. She is the author of Wrong Turn on the Information Superhighway: Education and the Commercialization of the Internet (Teachers College Press, 2004), and the co-author of the leading introduction to mass communication textbook, Media and Culture (Bedford/St. Martin’s), as well as Media Essentials and Media IN Society. Her book chapters and journal articles appear in such publications as Review of Educational Research, Visual Communication Quarterly, and Library Trends. Fabos is also an award-winning documentary producer and a former print reporter. She received a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in Telecommunication Arts from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in English Literature from Oberlin College. As a Fulbright recipient in 2013, Fabos studied Hungarian history and researched in photo archives for Proud and Torn.

Kim Heckart currently teaches 3rd grade at College Community School in Cedar Rapids, IA and is an adjunct professor for the University of Iowa, teaching Elementary Social Studies Methods. She is certified PreK-6 teacher and has earned a BS in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood Endorsement from Truman State University. She also acquired her Reading Endorsement in 2003. Mrs. Heckart received her Master’s Degree from Viterbo University in 2004. She was named 2007 Elementary Teacher of the Year for the Iowa Social Studies Council and the National Council of Social Studies. Gilder Lehrman also named her as the Elementary Iowa Teacher of the Year in 2007. In 2016, she received the Elementary Leavey Award through the Freedoms Foundation. Heckart is a active in her community serving as a Board Member for The History Center of Linn County, Education Liaison for Brucemore, and serves on the traveling exhibit committee at The African American Museum of Iowa. She serves on the Board of Directors of NCSS.

Dan Jones began his career at Living History Farms as a college intern in 1987, and never really left!  He is currently the Education Director & Internship Coordinator, but he has also been a day camp counselor, historical interpreter (specializing in broommaking), interim town site manager, and outreach coordinator.  And somewhere in there as well, he taught 7th and 8th grade social studies in Dubuque, Iowa, for one year. 

Deb Kerr is Executive Director of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, one of the world’s premier museum of outsider art, art made by artists who are self taught and have had little influence from the mainstream art world.  

Deb founded and directed YouthMuse, advocate for youth engagement and jump-starter of youth-led, museum-based campaigns for change. Deb has provided consulting in the areas of teen engagement and strategic planning for cultural organizations. Certified in Myers-Briggs personality type inventory, she facilitates interactive teen career and personal exploration group sessions.

During her 17-year career at the world-renowned Shedd Aquarium, she held progressively responsible roles, serving as executive vice president for 11 years. In 2013, she won a distinguished teaching award from Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies, where she has taught museum management since 2005. She is a past board member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and past chair and instructor for its Professional Development Committee and management courses, and past chair of the zoo and aquarium committee for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. She is a board member for the Merit School of Music, a member of the American Alliance of Museums and a past board member of the National Veterans Art Museum. She is a frequent guest speaker on issues related to museum relevance, museum planning, the role of museum in social good and teen empowerment.

Christa Kirsch-Paulson, Day Camp Coordinator, Living History Farms, Urbandale. Christa has been the Day Camp Manager at Living History Farms in Urbandale since 2011.  Under her direction, the Living History Farms Day Camp program is now accredited by the American Camp Association. Prior to moving to Iowa, she lived in Texas and worked at the Downtown Aquarium as an Interpretive Naturalist. Then as the Education Supervisor there, she started their Day Camp program and expanded Saturday student opportunities.  She also has worked at the Houston Zoo doing outreach programs and camp programming as their Education Specialist. Christa lives in West Des Moines with her husband and two children.

Heidi Lung directs the Museum Studies Certificate program at the University of Iowa and teaches nine courses including Introduction to Museum Studies, Museum Origins, Historic House Management and Preservation, Museums in a Digital World, Engaging Museum Audiences, Museums and Social Justice, Museum Evaluation, Exhibition Planning, and Museum Internship. Prior to joining UI in 2015, Heidi worked in museum administration, education, and community outreach for 20 years in the St. Louis area. She holds degrees in art history (BA), museum studies (MA), and education (PhD). When she is not teaching, Heidi enjoys visiting Iowa museums, parks, and cultural institutions with her husband and five-year-old son.

Samantha McCombs has worked at the Grout Museum since 2013 as the IT/Media Assistant and since 2017, the IT/Media Specialist. Her oral history responsibilities include converting memory cards to digital files, archiving the videos, inserting information into database and uploading clips to our website and social media pages. She also edits interviews for exhibit and education program use as well as produces DVDs for the interviewees. She has a degree from the University of Northern Iowa.

John Neal is a mural painter from Des Moines, IA.  He earned a BA Degree (1985) and MA degree (1987) in painting from Drake University in Des Moines.  Past work experience includes billboard painting and custom furniture painting for Sticks in Des Moines. Concurrently, he has designed and painted murals and artwork of a variety of clients in the Des Moines and the Midwest for 17 years. 

Bob Neymeyer has worked at the Grout Museum since 2002 as the Project Coordinator for the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum and, since 2008, the staff historian.  His responsibilities have included the oral history program and conducting research and writing narrative for veteran exhibits. He has his doctorate from the Department of History, University of Iowa, and serves as adjunct faculty at the Department of History at the University of Northern Iowa.

Pamela Schwartz, Chief Curator of the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, FL has 16 years of museum and consulting experience as a director, curator, and designer. In the wake of the Pulse Nightclub massacre she was the architect of the rapid-response One Orlando Collection Initiative and has become a national authority on collecting after community tragedy. This project has won the museum the prestigious History-in-Progress award from AASLH, as well as their Leadership in History award, a Southeastern Museum Conference Excellence in Exhibitions Award, amongst others.

Jackson Specker was born and raised in the Kansas City metro area, graduating from Kearney High School in 2013. Jackson then stared his college career at Metropolitan Community College, after completing an associate’s degree he transferred to Missouri State University to study philosophy. While at Missouri State University Jackson joined the Holt v Spicer Debate Forum where he competed in NDT/CEDA and NFA-LD debate at the regional and national level. His love for debate compelled him to continue his education at the University of Northern Iowa to pursue a master’s in communication and act as an assistant debate coach for the Northern Iowa’s policy debate team. Jackson also serves as a teaching assistant for the Communication Department and teaches one section of Oral Communication every semester.

Angela Stanford has been with the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa for 14 years.  In her position as Registrar and Curator of Collections, she has had a lead role in key projects such as finishing a complete inventory and cataloging project of the entire object collection, eliminating a six-year backlog of artifact donations, and the construction of a curatorial center addition which involved a collections move of about 3500 pieces and the renovation of old storage spaces.  She also successfully led the museum through achieving first-time accreditation through the American Alliance of Museums.  Angela previously served on the board of directors for the Iowa Museum Association, including two years as President, and as Vice Chair of the American Alliance of Museums’ Collections Stewardship Committee, formerly the Registrars Committee.  She has also served as Vice Chair of the Association of Midwest Museums’ Midwest Registrars Committee, and is currently the Iowa Representative for the MRC.  She has a combined 17 years of experience in collections registration, care, and management, and has presented numerous workshops on topics like cataloging and inventories, deaccessioning, proper handling and storage methods, and collections database management. 

Darrell Taylor has been the Director of the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Gallery of Art and Overseer of the UNI Permanent Art Collection since 2003, and before that appointment he served as Interim Director. He has authored successful project grants from IMLS and Heritage Preservation, the Iowa Arts Council, Humanities Iowa, and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. Also, the UNI art collection storage facility was fully renovated in 2010 using funds awarded via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Each year, he team-teaches “Collections Care and Management” at UNI and offers tutorials on entering juried exhibitions. Taylor is an intermedia artist with B.F.A., M.A., and M.F.A. degrees from the University of Iowa. His work has been presented nationally and internationally and involves multi-layered narratives, references to the figure, and printed imagery from the history of art and popular culture.

Michael Vogt is presently a curator at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge, in Johnston, Iowa.  He earned a BA Degree (1991) and MA degree (1997) in history from the University of Northern Iowa.  He has served on the board of directors as a volunteer member and board chair for the Iowa Museum Association and the State Historical Society of Iowa. Past work experience includes Museum Director for the Historical Society of Marshall County, Iowa, Site Supervisor at Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa, and assistant instructor at the Center for American Archaeology in Kampsville, Illinois.  In addition, he has taught as an adjunct history instructor for Grand View University, Simpson College, and Buena Vista University.

Jaycie Vos is the Special Collections Coordinator and University Archivist at the University of Northern Iowa. There, she aims to document, preserve, and share university and regional history with students and the broader community. Prior to that, she worked at the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Vos earned her master's of library science at UNC and is currently pursuing a master's in folklore at UNC with a focus on college and community radio.

Stefanie Wager. Social Studies Coordinator, Iowa Department of Education.  After teaching for a year at a bilingual school in Naucalpan, Mexico, Stefanie received her Bachelor's degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.  She went on to teach social studies at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines and then became the Director of a Teaching American History Grant for Des Moines Public Schools.  Stefanie then received her Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Drake University.  In 2012, Stefanie taught social studies at Dallas Center-Grimes High School in Grimes, Iowa.  Currently, Stefanie works as the social studies consultant at the Iowa Department of Education.

Robert Warren was hired as the Executive Director at Hoyt Sherman Place in October of 2015.  His decorated career has also included positions such as Associate Producer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Executive Producer for Creative Vision Entertainment in Washington, D.C. and Executive Director of Hartford Performs in Hartford, Connecticut.  He started his Arts administration career in Cedar Falls, Iowa as the first General Manager for the newly restored Oster Regent Theatre where he was instrumental in bringing the Cedar Falls Main Street back to life.  Mr. Warren is the proud father of his two adult sons and proud of his service in the U.S. Army as a communications specialist for White House Communications.