Christiansen Named Director of the Clarke County Historical Association

The Clarke County Historical Association has a new director: Laura Christiansen.

In her new role, Christiansen will supervise day-to-day operations of the Clarke County Historical Association, including the Museum, Archives, and Library located onEast Main Streetin Berryville and the Burwell–Morgan Mill in Millwood,Virginia.    In addition, she will be responsible for planning and coordinating outreach events and programs for the Association, including the popular semi-annual Art at the Mill shows held each spring and fall, and Heritage Day, a new annual event returning for a second year this November.

The Burwell‐Morgan Mill in Millwood, Virginia

Christiansen fills the position formerly held by Jennifer Lee, who is now Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.

Christiansen moved to the area in October and most recently divided her time working for both the Handley Regional Library in Winchester  and the Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg.   Previously, she served as Head Librarian of the Jean Outland Chrysler Library at the Chrysler Museum of Art inNorfolk, Virginia and, before that, as Archivist of the South Carolina Historical Association.   She holds Bachelor’s Degrees fromBerryCollegein History and Art History, and Master’s Degrees in Public History and Library Science from theUniversityofSouth Carolina.  Christiansen also studied painting conservation in Florence,Italy, before deciding to pursue a career in museums and archives.

CCHA’s search for a new director attracted dozens of candidates from as far away as Kansas. “We were really pleased with the quality of the applicants,” said board president Howard Means, “but once we interviewed Laura, we knew we had found the person we wanted.”

Ms. Christiansen started work on June 18.  “I’m excited to get up to speed and get to work.” Christiansen said Monday. “I think this job is a great fit for my experience and interests, and I’m really enjoying my work so far – the CCHA museum and archives have unbelievably rich collections, and the Burwell-Morgan Mill is a treasure.”

Founded in 1939, the Clarke County Historical Association is dedicated to preserving the historical resources and records of Clarke County and fostering their use, enjoyment, and understanding.


  1. Sam Card says:

    Drew Gilpin Faust is the first female President of Harvard University. She is from Clarke County and attended Powatan School. I enjoyed reading her books: “Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War” and “The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War”. I have fond memories of Sally Trumbower, who was a President of Clarke County Historical Association. Good luck Laura.

  2. Bob Brawley says:

    I propose a case where the Clarke County Historical Association donate their archive to the Clarke County Library system and fund the archive within the Library system. Paying for the Archivist wages. and equipment and storage space. My primary intrest is photographs and documents supporting the identities of the photographs. A document supporting a photograph would be any history of the times in which the pictured subject relates to.

    Presently the archivist publishes the photos so the suspected subjects in a photo so they can be searchable. But there is little reguard to the actuall identies of the subject. A researcher , that’s me, need to know how the identies that are listed without reguard to their order in a group photo was determined. Where the archivist got the names that are listed in a searchable column. The photos with their identies are present on the online archives out of context. I need to know how the donor of the photo is related to the pictured subject. Did the Donor find the photo in a shoe box on the curb with other trash? what house or building did it appear the trash came from. Did the donor find the phot in a “box of thing her deceased mother had in storage” ? Had the photo been in a frame on the wall of the donors childhood home or in a parents dresser drawer? Did the donor of the photograph actuall reconize any body in the photo.? Was the donor pretty sure or thought maybe, or could see a family resemblence to the pictured subject, but wasn’t sure who the pictured person was? Typically that information is either not recorded or the archivist takes offense when I ask.

    Is the archivist offended by expressed doubt of the offered presentation . Or is the Archivist trying to protect the citizens of Clarke County from riff raff inquiring futher about the idenity of the subject matter. With a government funded archive like the Handly Library and the Thomas Balch Library the researcher doesn’t get the baggage of the archivist being personally offended.

    The Clarke County Historical Association is a National organization. , they accept grant money from Federal and State Government but by publishing for a national and even international audience over the internet. that alone makes them a national organizastion. It is not a local club , Is Laura Christiansen coming in to join a local club or is she going to inprove and appy her credentrials to improve the historical understanding of Clarke County? Histrorian Maral Kalibian , board of directors of Clarke County Historical association she joined the club. What choice will Laura Christiansen chose?

  3. Bob Brawley says:

    Clarke County Hiwtorical Association get ready to buy the Berryville plost office as the new CCHA archives and museum.