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From Crisis to Community Anchor: One Institution's Journey Toward Transformation

Friday, November 3, 2023

12 - 1:30 PM EST

After a decade-long restoration, Historic Cherry Hill found itself in a period of crisis—with inadequate resources, a reduced public profile, pronounced donor fatigue, and disconnection from its local community. For Cherry Hill, “finding center” was a process of self-study in order to identify our value to existing and potential stakeholders; find the intersection between our mission and the needs of our community; align board and staff structure with institutional needs and capacity; and share the stories in our collections most meaningful to contemporary audiences. This session will discuss three transformational initiatives imbedded in strategic planning and audience evaluation.


Deborah Emmons-Andarawis

Executive Director

Historic Cherry Hill

Shawna Reilly

Director of Education

Historic Cherry Hill

Erin Leary


Historic Cherry Hill

LaReina Torain

Marketing and Community Engagement Associate

Historic Cherry Hill

Deborah Emmons-Andarawis received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, and continued her studies at the University at Albany, receiving a master’s in Public History in 2009. Deborah has been at Historic Cherry Hill since 2008, first serving as Curator, then as Director since 2017. Over her tenure, Deborah has overseen a major restoration project, collaborated on numerous interpretive programs, launched interpretive planning, and secured and administered numerous grants.

Shawna Reilly is the Director of Education at Historic Cherry Hill. In that role she has managed grant-funded projects, including interpretive planning grants from IMLS and NEH, school program development funded by NEH, and a teen after-school project funded by IMLS. She has presented at local, regional and state conferences on HCH’s history and education programs. She completed a Master of Arts in Teaching Social Studies in 2006 and is a NYS certified teacher.

Erin Leary received her PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University at Rochester. While completing her MA at Parsons School of Design, Erin completed a research internship at Historic Cherry Hill, which launched her doctoral research, culminating in her thesis, Decorating for Discrimination: Nativism & Eugenics in the Decorative & Domestic Arts, 1893-1923. Erin has been a lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, a Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is currently a Trustee of Historic Cherry Hill.

LaReina Torain, received a BA in History and Women & Gender Studies from Siena College in 2021. She has been involved with Historic Cherry Hill for over two years- first as a student intern, then as a Community Advisory Board member, and currently as a Teaching Assistant /Site Supervisor for the teen docent program, History is Now. LaReina previously taught History and Spanish at Bishop Maginn High School and Spanish at Bishop Gibbons.


MANY is committed to making our virtual programs as accessible as possible. All virtual programs will have ASL interpretation provided by Interpretek.

Virtual programs are made possible by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

The Museum Association of New York helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities.

Museum Association of New York is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. 

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