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Norman Burns Named President & CEO

Norman Burns.pngFollowing a national search for candidates, the board of directors of Conner Prairie selected Norman Burns of Richmond, Va., to succeed Ellen M. Rosenthal as president and CEO of Conner Prairie on January 27, 2016. Rosenthal retired from the museum's top position January 4 after 12 years at the helm.

Burns has 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., that includes historical buildings, gardens and animal experiences, drawing 500,000 visitors annually. In his role, he worked with a 45-member board of directors, led the executive staff and played a critical role in raising more than $21 million of a multi-year $35 million capital and endowment campaign.

Prior to joining Maymont, Burns served as executive director of four Tennessee museums from 1987 to 2001, including Belle Meade Plantation, Chattanooga Regional History Museum, Rocky Mount Museum and Sam Davis Historical Site and Museum.

“At the onset of our search, we established several critical priorities that the next president and CEO must meet and we unanimously believe that Norman Burns exceeds those criteria,” said Jay Ricker, chairman of Conner Prairie’s board of directors and chairman of Ricker Oil Co. “He considers himself first and foremost a historian and educator and has observed Conner Prairie for years. We look forward to his leadership, expertise and creativity to help guide Conner Prairie’s future.”

Burns is active in the museum field nationally. He serves as treasurer and council member for the American Association of State and Local History and has served as finance committee chairman, past chairman of the audit committee and CEO forum, and co-chairman of the American Association for State and Local History’s annual meeting in 2011.

Burns earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He and wife Sandy have three grown sons.

Click here for a hi-resolution image of Burns.

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2017 / Q4
Oct. 9 | Bradford joins museum as vice president-chief development officer

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