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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. 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.


Norman's Notes
Norman's Notes is a bi-monthly e-publication of news and views from the president's desk. Below you will find links to past issues. If you would like to subscribe to Norman’s Notes, please send your name and email address to Executive Assistant to the President Emma St. Dennis.

Nov. 22 | A time to be thankful for colleagues, board and donors
Nov. 7 | Conner Prairie's greatest resource is its hardworking staff
Oct. 24 | Conner Prairie leadership attends Smithsonian conference
Oct. 10 | Current, former board members remembered for their support
Sept. 26 | Record attendance at third annual Festival of Machines
Sept. 12 | Successful Labor Day weekend; Board member to be torchbearer
August 29 | 19th-century cooking videos; Praise from a parent
August 15 | Ossabaw hogs part of research program; Museum journal publishes staff members' article
July 18 | Treetop Outpost grand opening; Successful Fourth of July weekend
July 5 | Meeting Gov. Mike Pence; Supporters attend VIP Preview of Treetop Outpost
June 20 | Great Crowd at Curiosity Fair; Prairie Plates is a hit
June 6 | Value of History statement; $50,000 grant for maker's program
May 23 | U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks takes a tour of Conner Prairie
May 9 | Shear Fun overcomes soggy start with great crowd on day No. 2
April 25 | A Proud President; Opportunity Indianapolis; Prairie News
April 11 | Opening Weekend; A Visit with Mayor Hogsett
March 28 | New York Times article highlights Conner Prairie