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Meet Our Staff — Sarah McDonald

29 Oct 2020 2:03 PM | Anonymous

Our museum has two full-time staff members the Executive Director and the Grants and Development Coordinator. We are so thankful for the work that they do to help our museum run. Today Sarah McDonald is sharing a little about herself so you can get to know her more! 

Meet Sarah McDonald, our Executive Director 

Hi everyone!  

I joined the staff of the Shelby County Historical Museum as the Executive Director in April 2018. I have loved getting to know the community and learning about the rich history of Shelby County. 

Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by learning about the daily lives of regular people. This interest led to me earn a B. A. in Anthropology from Texas Tech University with minors in History and French. I then went on to earn a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and an M.A. in History with a concentration in Museum Studies. My research interests have generally focused on New England and Great Plains Native American history and culture. I am also interested in the history and culture of the Cold War period, particularly the role of American women in the 1950s and 1960s. 

I have a deep passion for curating exhibitions, and few things make me quite as excited as finding the perfect finishing detail for an exhibit. A couple of my favorite examples are object identification tags that give importation information, while blending into the background of an immersive exhibit. Keep an eye out for future Curator’s Corner blog posts where I’ll take you behind the scenes as I do what I love most! 

When I am not working at the museum, you'll often find me visiting other museums and historic houses – occasionally making security guards anxious by getting up close and personal with exhibits. I love to study the construction of displays!  

I also love to rock climb, bake, and spend evenings at the local bowling alley with my Ladies League team! 


The Shelby County Historical Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1964. 1805 Morse Avenue Harlan, Iowa 51537.

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