State Historical Society of Iowa Announces New State Curator Position

For immediate release August 25, 2004



Sarah Oltrogge, (515) 281-4011

Des Moines, Iowa—The 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 Society.


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