Kate Skelly is the new executive director of the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation, an organization that works to preserve and promote the city’s history, art and culture.
Skelly, whose selection was announced last week, replaces Rhonda Morgan, who served as executive director for nearly a decade.
“I am so excited to have the opportunity to lead the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation. Since we have two such diverse venues, there’s no limit to how we can exhibit and educate,” Skelly said. “Blacksburg’s history and cultural environments are so deep and rich. I am particularly excited to continue the traditions of the BMCF by introducing new lecture series, exhibits, oral histories and historical tours.
Skelly has more than 15 years of experience working in museum environments, according to a BMCF press release. This experience includes developing a wide range of museum programs using traditional and modern technologies and “cutting-edge presentation strategies,” according to the release.
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“We are thrilled to have such an accomplished museum professional as Kate,” Jim Rakes, chairman of the board of the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation, said in the statement. “His experience and leadership will enable BMCF to move forward with innovative programs that capture and present Blacksburg’s history and culture.”
The foundation is based in the historic Alexander Black House, a nearly 10,000 square foot Victorian building on Draper Road that houses a variety of materials chronicling local culture and history.
The Black House is named for the great-grandnephew of Blacksburg’s founder, William Black, whose descendant built the structure in the late 1890s and resided there until his death in 1935. Alexander Black was a prominent businessman and the son of the first president of the Board of Visitors of what is now Virginia Tech.
Originally located on Main Street, the Black House was moved to its present location in 2008 to make way for the Kent Square office, retail and parking complex. The property has since undergone two major improvement projects.
Additionally, the foundation oversees the equally historic St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall and offers tours of Blacksburg’s 16 plazas.
St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall is the only remaining structure of New Town’s former African-American community. The 16 squares are the blocks that made up the original town of Blacksburg.
Skelly took office on January 4.
The “Women of Blacksburg” exhibit at the Black House will open next month.