Rokeby Museum Welcomes New Director

Lindsay Houpt-Varner

Deep into the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, Rokeby Museum embarked on a national search for a new director. Over ninety applications later, the search committee identified an exceptionally large pool of highly qualified candidates, eleven of whom we interviewed. Encompassing many Zoom interviews, some distanced presentations, and various quarantines, the process was lengthy but we were undaunted. Now we are thrilled to announce that Lindsay Houpt-Varner, PhD, will lead Rokeby as its first full-time director.

Thanks to the dedication and vision of her immediate predecessors, Jane Williamson and Catherine Brooks, as well as many cohorts of enthusiastic volunteers, Lindsay will take the reins of a thriving institution with boundless potential. 

Lindsay comes to Rokeby after four years at Cumberland County Historical Society in Pennsylvania, where she led initiatives in preservation, heritage, and community engagement with history and the humanities. During this time she spearheaded the Mt. Tabor Preservation Project, an initiative to save a c.1870 AME Zion log church. For her groundbreaking work to recognize the inequalities in the historical record in central Pennsylvania, she received awards from Preservation Pennsylvania, PA Museums, and the American Association for State and Local History. She has also served as an adjunct history professor at Dickinson College and other institutions.

Most importantly, Lindsay brings to us an impressive array of skills, successful projects, and achievements — all of which are a perfect fit for this moment in our history.  Her passion for the untold stories in history and a clear understanding of the significance of diversity in today’s community are both very important to Rokeby’s mission.  Lindsay believes museums are the places to ask what stories have been told so far, and how those stories must include previously silenced voices.

Here is what Lindsay herself says: 

“When I read about Rokeby Museum, I was in awe at the site’s history and commitment to the community and societal change. The Robinson family’s history of abolition, agriculture, and art is compelling and the site provides the unique opportunity to tell a family’s story within the broader scope of American history, while also using this history as a platform to discuss contemporary issues. I am honored to be chosen as the next director of the site and excited to start working alongside the wonderful individuals who support the Museum.” 

Lindsay and her husband, Chris, along with their dog and two cats, will live in Monkton, where, in her spare time, she will enjoy restoring their new home, and spending time outdoors running, biking and gardening.

Those of us who have already had a chance to work with Lindsay during this transition period are buoyed by her energy and insight. Please visit before the season ends on October 25th, and join us in welcoming Lindsay who starts on September 21st. We are confident you will be as pleased as we are.

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