Sarah Oltrogge, (515)
director of the State Historical Museum has accepted a newly created position
of State Curator.
Jerome Thompson, who has been with the State Historical Society of Iowa since
1982, assumed his duties as State Curator July 1.
In this role, Thompson will work to connect the State Historical Society with
organizations across the state trying to preserve and interpret Iowa’s historical
resources. As an "extension agent" for the Society, Thompson will make
regular site visits to organizations, help with assessments and provide training
and technical assistance.
"We have long believed that the State Historical Society has needed a staff
member with the specific purpose to provide professional and technical assistance
to local organizations," said State Historical Society of Iowa Board Chair
Peggy Whitworth of Cedar Rapids.
Thompson will continue his working relationships with statewide and national organizations
with similar missions, including the Iowa Museum Association, the American Association
for State and Local History, and the American Association for State and Local
History Field Service Alliance. He will continue to be the contact for issues
related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA),
which provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native
American cultural items—human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects,
and objects of cultural patrimony—to lineal descendants, culturally affiliated
Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations.
"I’ll be the first point of contact for local organizations that are
looking for assistance in preserving their history, and in the process, be carrying
out the mission of the State Historical Society of Iowa in a broader sense,"
said Thompson, who has 30-plus years experience behind him.
Thompson graduated in 1974 from Iowa State University with a degree in anthropology.
During his last two years of undergraduate school and during his master’s
work, he worked as an archaeologist for Texas Tech University Museum and completed
his MA in museum science from that university in 1977. In 1987, he attended the
J. Paul Getty Trust Museum Management Institute. He has worked as a historical
interpreter for the Minnesota Historical Society, coordinated restoration and
interpretive programs at Terrace Hill, served as Historic Sites Coordinator for
the State Historical Society, and directed the museum for the past 18 years. Thompson
is currently on the board of the Iowa Museum Association and the Terrace Hill
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