Dana Hand Evans of Richmond Tapped to Lead the MSV

Winchester, VA., 10/22/10…The Board of Directors of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) has named Dana Hand Evans as the Museum’s next executive director. Currently the executive director of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia (NSCDA-VA) and the Wilton House Museum in Richmond, Virginia, Evans was hired for the leadership role at the MSV following an exhaustive national search that began in March of this year. 

Evans has served as the museum director of Wilton House Museum since August of 2002 and also as the executive director of the NSCDA-VA for the past year. Built in 1753 for William Randolph III, Wilton was the centerpiece of a 2,000-acre tobacco plantation and home to the Randolph family for more than a century. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Marquis de Lafayette have all been guests in the house. Wilton was purchased by the NSCDA-VA in 1933 and opened to the public in 1952. Today Wilton displays an impressive collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century furnishings and decorative arts and offers a variety of changing exhibitions to tell the story of Colonial life in the mid-eighteenth century. 

Dana Hand Evans graduated from La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art history, painting, and printmaking in 1994. She received her Master of Arts degree in Art History, Historical Studies, from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond in 1999. Evans holds a certificate in non-profit management from VCU and earned her Master of Public Administration degree from VCU in 2009. 
Evans began her tenure at Wilton in 2002 as the museum’s school and youth programs coordinator. Prior to that she was assistant curator of collections for Agecroft Association in Richmond, Virginia, and before that she worked as an art director for summer youth programs. In the latter capacity she developed and implemented a creative fine arts program for at-risk children in Richmond. 

In regards to her new role at the MSV, Evans says, “I am delighted and honored to be selected by the Board of Directors to lead the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. I am confident that together the staff and Board will move forward to build upon the Museum’s many accomplishments and successes and continue to be a vibrant cultural community center.” 
Evans was selected to lead the MSV after a national search to find a successor for Founding Executive Director Jennifer Esler. After more than twelve years in the leadership role at the MSV, Esler left earlier this year to join her husband in the Nashville area and become the president and CEO of the Battle of Franklin Trust, Franklin, Tennessee. In the period since Esler’s departure Frances “Franny” Crawford has been serving as MSV acting executive director. 

The MSV search committee responsible for recruiting the new executive director was led by John G. Lathrop, vice president of the MSV Board of Directors, and included MSV Board members Calvin H. Allen, Katherine M. B. Berger, Peter G. Bullough, M.D., and Board President Christopher A. “Kit” Molden. 

According to Board President Kit Molden, “We were fortunate to have many extremely qualified candidates apply for this position, and we are convinced that her background and experience make Dana Hand Evans the ideal new executive director for the MSV. We are excited to welcome her on board to help lead us into the future.” 

Evans will move into the Winchester area and begin work at the MSV early in 2011. Accompanying her will be her husband, Patrick, an executive chef, and their two children, ages 10 and 12. 
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley complex includes the Glen Burnie Historic House, six acres of gardens, and a 50,000-square-foot museum designed by the internationally acknowledged architectural firm of Michael Graves & Associates. The MSV has a staff of more than 50 full and part-time employees and an annual operating budget of more than $3 million. The Museum offers a wide range of highly-popular educational programs and changing exhibitions, has more than 1,100 Members, and attracts more than 30,000 visitors from across the country annually. –END– 

Contact: Julie B. Armel 
540-662-1473 ext. 225