Former National Underground Railroad Freedom Center director named vice president-chief programs officer at Conner Prairie
Director of Public Relations
FISHERS, Ind. (Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017/Conner Prairie) Norman Burns, president and CEO of Conner Prairie, announces that Richard Cooper has been named vice president-chief programs officer at Conner Prairie.
Cooper joins the leadership team of the museum from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, where he has worked since 2004. Most recently, he served as director of museum experiences, responsible for the development and presentation of the center’s interpretive educational strategies in exhibit galleries. He has guided the center through the opening of nationally and internationally recognized exhibitions and programs.
“His demonstrated leadership and ability to listen to and incorporate diverse opinions and issues with staff and in the community is a quality that will allow him to complement our organization’s strengths while helping Conner Prairie become even more relevant as a history museum in today’s society,” Burns said. “As a member of our leadership team, he will be able to sustain the best activities of our program areas while helping us plan for our future as the benchmark museum for educational and public programming.”
Cooper is also the author and co-author of several publications on interpreting slavery and the Underground Railroad. His most recent co-authored book is “Cincinnati's Underground Railroad.”
“I am honored to join such a distinguished organization as Conner Prairie, with such a strong legacy of innovation,” Cooper said. “I know that a great organization is only great because of the people who engage with it. I look forward to becoming a part of the team.”
Originally from Cincinnati, Cooper earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in public history from Northern Kentucky University, where he has also been an adjunct professor of history graduate seminars. He and fiancée Rebecca Clark, a travel agent for AAA, have relocated to Fishers.
Spanning nearly 1,000 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes nearly 400,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.
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Conner Prairie’s mission is to inspire curiosity and foster learning about Indiana by providing engaging, individualized and unique experiences. Created by Eli Lilly in 1934, Conner Prairie combines history with science, technology, engineering and math and encourages visitors to explore Indiana’s natural and cultural heritage through hands-on, immersive and interactive experiences. Inspiring visitors of all ages to discover more about the events, discoveries and forces that shaped the American Midwest, Conner Prairie offers various historically themed, indoor and outdoor experience areas throughout its nearly 1,000 acres of wooded property in Fishers, Ind. Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute Affiliate and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Conner Prairie is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization that relies on grants and philanthropic donations from corporations and individuals for sustainability and growth. Visit connerprairie.org or call (800) 966-1836 for admission dates, hours, ticket prices and opportunities to donate and volunteer. Conner Prairie is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Flickr and YouTube.