Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation taps new executive director
Christy Coleman is CEO of the American Civil War Museum.
American Civil War Museum CEO Christy Coleman has been tapped as executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
She replaces the foundation’s longtime leader, Philip G. Emerson, who is retiring on Dec. 31 after 28 years.
Coleman, who starts at JYF on Jan. 21, previously held leadership positions at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. She is also a national commentator for museums and historical places.
The $25 million American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar in Richmond opened in May 2019 during her tenure.
“We’re really looking forward to how she will use her unique experience to tell inclusive narratives on a global stage,” said state Sen. Janet Howell, vice chairman of the JYF Board of Trustees, in a statement.
“Christy Coleman’s professional accomplishments and perspective will be invaluable in writing the next chapter of JYF’s long and storied history,” said outgoing Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, chairman of the JYF Board of Trustees. “As a dynamic, proven leader in the museum field, she will help ensure that our programs and exhibits align with the educational needs of today’s young people and are relevant and appealing to the visiting public.”
In 2018, the museum sold 533,730 combined admissions to both Jamestown Settlement and its American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, resulting in approximately $94 million in spending in the Historic Triangle region, which includes Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg.
Coleman says she is drawn to JYF’s commitment to inclusive programming.
“The leadership of this place has been committed to doing things the right way and it has received many well-deserved accolades. My goal is to work in partnership with JYF’s board, staff, donors, volunteers and diverse stakeholders to build on this strong foundation and to continue to tell powerfully relevant history that is inclusive and compelling,” Coleman said in a statement.
A Williamsburg native, she will be the first female and African American to head the foundation.
Coleman holds a master’s degree in museum studies from Hampton University and is a member of the African American Association of Museums, the American Alliance of Museums, and was a council member for the Association for State and Local History.
The foundation recently opened the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, refreshed Jamestown Settlement exhibit galleries and hosted the 2019 “American Evolution” Commemoration. Coleman will oversee these initiatives and will be involved with the 250th American Revolution anniversary planning, just more than six years away.