Storytelling Symposium

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 8, 2024

Museums, Archives, and Special Collections in a Multicultural World


storytelling symposium, the power of storytelling at ksu.

The Power of Storytelling

Museums, Archives, and Special Collections in a Multicultural World

Date: Saturday, April 20, 2024 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Location: Museum of History and Holocaust Education at Kennesaw State University KSU Center. 3333 Busbee Drive, Kennesaw, GA 30144.

Registration: Rates: $15 for Students with promo code STUDENT2024; $30 for professionals.
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Presenter Biographies

  • Trevor Beemon serves as Executive Director of Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society. He began volunteering for Cobb Landmarks at the William Root House Museum at the age of twelve. He attended Kennesaw State University (KSU) where he received a degree in American History and completed the Public History Certificate Program. Previously, Trevor worked at the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History and the Atlanta History Center. He is currently chairman of the Acworth Historic Preservation Commission and serves as an advisory board member for the Marietta Arts Council. Trevor received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the KSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2015 and was named to the "20 Under 40" list by Cobb Life Magazine in 2020.
  • Kim Blass brings extensive experience working at the intersection of communications and development to her position as Chief Impact Officer with Marietta City Schools, where she drives strategy that helps make the system “special, different, and better.” Her team in External Affairs, Marietta Community School, and the Marietta College and Career Academy creates district and community impact by bringing opportunities and resources to our students, staff, and families. Kim’s background includes consulting for Coxe Curry & Associates, where her numerous nonprofit clients included colleges, schools, arts organizations, and social service providers. She also worked as the chief marketing and communications officer at The Lovett School and has held communications positions at several other leading Atlanta-area institutions, including Northside Hospital and the Atlanta History Center. Kim is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and attended graduate school at Georgia State University. She proudly serves the community through her board appointments with the Cobb Chamber, the United Way of Greater Atlanta in Cobb, the McCleskey-East Cobb Family YMCA, the Marietta Arts Council, and the Kennesaw State University Community Advisory Council. Kim is a member of the Leadership Cobb Class of 2020 and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute Class of 2023.
  • Lois Carlisle is a writer and historian living on the unceded territory of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, she taught and developed curricula for schools and institutions on two continents. Lois has edited four social studies textbooks and written two chapbooks, as well as a host of articles in industry publications. 
  • Nedra Deadwyler founded Civil Bikes in an effort to make all of Atlanta's people visible. Civil Bikes highlights history, art and culture presented in the Atlanta landscape. Nedra, hailing from a family of civil rights leaders and activists, has extensive experience in leading groups of all sizes and ages, by bicycle or on foot, to explore and witness the interrelatedness of our city. In addition to founding and operating Civil Bikes, Nedra is also the current Safety Education Programs Manager for Georgia Bikes! supporting statewide efforts to increase bicycling and building the public’s knowledge of safe bicycling practices in Georgia. She is a Licensed Master of Social Work from New York University and a Master of Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University.
  • Dr. Jennifer Dickey is a professor of history and coordinator of the public history program at KSU. She is also the coordinator of museums at KSU. Dr. Dickey's scholarship focuses on history and memory in the American South. She has published a book on the public memory of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, co-authored a history of the Georgia Governor's Mansion with Dr. Catherine Lewis and First Lady Sandra Deal, and has forthcoming a history and guidebook for Georgia's State Historic Sites.
  • From small historical societies to major corporations and university libraries, Kathy has worked with organizations across Georgia and beyond as a staff member and as a consultant.  For over 40 years she has connected people with objects and stories of the past and made them relevant in the present. She recently retired from Emory Libraries after 10 years as exhibitions manager. Before Emory, Kathy worked for 25 years as a consultant and business owner providing the full scope of exhibition development, from researching collection items to editing exhibit panels, from collaborating with conservators or VR designers to installing the last acrylic bonnet before the opening the exhibition doors. Kathy holds an MA in historical administration from Eastern Illinois University and a BS in Recreation Education from the University of Iowa.  Throughout her career she has gathered a robust understanding of the museum field, especially collections and exhibitions development, the scholarly and the pragmatic. 
  • Benjamin Filene is Deputy Director of Public History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, overseeing the museum’s interpretive exhibition, collections, education, digital and research functions. He joined the Smithsonian from the North Carolina Museum of History, where he served as chief curator. Previously, he was the director of public history and professor of history at UNC Greensboro, and he served as senior exhibition developer at the Minnesota History Center. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.
  • Floyd Hall is an artist, engineer, cultural producer, writer, and documentarian from Atlanta, Georgia, and currently serves as the Executive Director of Atlanta Contemporary. As an artist and curator his work often relates to the intersection of culture, media, and technology as platforms to construct narratives of place. He holds a BS in Mathematics from Morehouse College, a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, and an MBA from Columbia University.
  • Kelly Hoomes is the Museum Research Specialist for the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books (MARB) at Kennesaw State University where she oversees exhibit research. With over two decades of research, curation, and interpretation experience, she has contributed to historic sites, museums, and libraries across the southeast including the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and the Athens Regional Library System. She has a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Pittsburgh and is pursuing a master’s degree in American Studies at Kennesaw State University. She also maintains certifications as an Interpretive Guide and Interpretive Planner from the National Association of Interpretation. 
  • In November of 2023, Elizabeth Hornor was named Associate Museum Director for Public Programs at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum, overseeing the museum’s exhibition program, education, and marketing and communications. Previously, she served as the museum’s Ingram Senior Director of Education, developing interpretative programs and materials for university and public audiences and working with Emory faculty to facilitate their use of the museum collections and exhibitions. 

    Before joining the staff of the Carlos, she was the Curator of Education for Student and Family Programs at the High Museum. An alumna of Emory College and the Laney Graduate School, she has received numerous awards including NAEA Museum Educator of the Year/Southeast, GAMG Museum Professional of the Year, and Emory University’s Award of Distinction, International Outreach Award, and Creativity and Arts Staff Award.

  • Adina Langer is a curator and public historian with over eighteen years of experience working at museums, archives, and historical sites. She has created or co-curated more than twenty exhibitions with permanent homes at three museums, presence on the Web, and a busy schedule traveling the library, school, and community center circuit. Langer employs an interdisciplinary, process-driven methodology in her work that emphasizes connections between diverse audiences, community storytellers, and scholarly perspectives. Editor of the anthology Storytelling in Museums (AAM Press, 2022), she has also published recent work in magazines (Canopy Forum, 2019; Museum, 2023) and academic journals (The Public Historian, 2022; Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, forthcoming, 2024). At Kennesaw State University since 2015, Adina was curator of the Museum of History and Holocaust Education for eight and a half years and recently became Senior Curator of Museums, Archives, and Rare Books. She is currently enrolled in the history PhD program at Georgia State University and holds an MA in public history and archives from New York University (2009) and a BA in history and creative writing from Oberlin College (2006). 
  • Dr. Sarah Litvin was the founding Executive Director of the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History from 2018-2023. Previously, she has worked as a curator and educator for the New-York Historical Society, the National Museum of American Jewish History, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. She completed her PhD in U.S. women's history in 2019 at the Graduate Center, CUNY with a dissertation focused on how girls and women used the parlor piano as a tool to pursue their ambitions at the turn of the twentieth century.
  • Kate Matheny is outreach archivist for the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books at Kennesaw State University. Since joining the team in August 2023, she has helped promote use of the KSU Archives through instruction, research assistance, and a range of outreach activities, including exhibit curation. Before this, she spent eight years as instruction and outreach librarian for special collections at the University of Alabama. She has also been an English instructor, a writing tutor, and a digital archives technician. She holds a PhD in English with a focus on modernism and narrative as well as a master's degree in library and information studies, both from the University of Alabama. She is interested in the role of popular and low culture in transmitting historical narratives and worldviews, especially those of the American South.
  • Jessie McCrary serves as Associate Director of Emory's National Scholarships & Fellowships Program overseeing the selection process for internal and external merit-based awards. Combining her academic focus in writing studies with her passion for student success, Jessie works to connect high-achieving students to the resources for their academic and career advancement through research, fellowship, and education abroad opportunities. Jessie has worked in student success since 2013, formerly at Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University. Across career and internship advising, academic advising, research and scholarship advising, Jessie understands the challenges and growth opportunities for students throughout their undergraduate journey. Her work is driven by the satisfaction of connecting students’ academic interests with their professional and life goals.

    She received her PhD in English, concentration in rhetoric and composition, from Georgia State University. Her dissertation uses the Georgia Women’s Movement archival collection at GSU to investigate the nature of remembrance and rhetorical voice in oral history. She also has research projects focused on the composing processes involved in national competitive awards applications and in Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and writing program administration. Her scholarship has appeared in College English, the Journal of the Georgia Association of Historians, and forthcoming in Written Communication.

  • Rebecca Melsheimer has been at Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, since 2017 in a variety of roles. Since 2022, she has been the Curatorial Assistant, adding collection management to exhibit development. After receiving a MS in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 2003, she has worked to share her love of science with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. She has developed exhibits covering topics as diverse as materials science, the science of science fiction, amber, and patents.
  • Andrea Miskewicz is the Interim Executive Director at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education (MHHE) in the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books at Kennesaw State University. She has been at the MHHE for nearly eight years and during her tenure she has worked to help grow the program which reaches over 200,000 people annually. Prior to her work at the MHHE, she taught middle school in Gwinnett County, but transitioned to museum education after several years in the classroom. Andrea earned a BA in History and Education from Marquette University, an MHP from Georgia State, and her EDS in History Education from Kennesaw State. She is currently a doctoral candidate, and her research is focused on museum-led professional development for teachers related to difficult history. In addition to being a wife and mom of a 3-year-old, Andrea is a lover of books and travel!

  • James Newberry serves as Outreach and Special Projects Curator for the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books (MARB) at Kennesaw State University. In the position, Newberry works with university students, faculty, and staff as well as community partners to develop exhibits, educational materials, and programming. Previously, Newberry served as Education Manager for MARB’s Museum of History and Holocaust Education, where he oversaw interpretive strategy and education programming. In 2013, Newberry started the museum’s oral history program, the Legacy Series, which uses filmed interviews to preserve the experiences of Holocaust survivors, World War II veterans, and home front workers living in the Southeast. Newberry earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Georgia in 2010. While completing a master’s degree in public history at Georgia State University, Newberry worked at the National Archives at Atlanta and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. 


  • Patrice Preston-Grimes is associate professor emerita at the University of Virginia, where she was a member of the five-year long President’s Commission on Slavery and the University. Her research focuses on public education in the American South, before the Civil Rights era, with special interests in local community histories and culture.

    Patrice’s involvement with James Madison’s Montpelier began in 2007, when she created a field experience to the Presidential site for her graduate-level students. Since retiring in 2020 and returning to her ‘adopted home’ of Atlanta, she remains an active member of the Montpelier Descendants’ Community. Later this month, she will return to the Montpelier Burial Ground for the Enslaved and participate in a week-long Archeology of Memorialization Expedition.

  • JoyEllen Williams is the Special Collections Curator in the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books at Kennesaw State University. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from The University of Georgia and a master’s degree in archival studies from Clayton State University. JoyEllen has worked professionally in the special collections field since 2015, first as an internship fellow at the AUC Woodruff Library and then as the Outreach Archivist at Kennesaw State University before fully transitioning into her current role in 2018. JoyEllen is a governor-appointed member of the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council, a member of the Society of American Archivists Publications Board, and a founding member of the Atlanta Black Archives Alliance. In February 2022, JoyEllen was a recipient of a 2022-2024 Rare Book School/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion, & Cultural Heritage. Her professional writings have been published in several books and magazines including Archival Issues (2016),  Participatory Heritage (2017),  Archival Outlook (2018; 2021), and Pushing the Margins: Women of Color and Intersectionality in Library and Information Science (2018). She will also contribute a chapter to the forthcoming book, Radical Visions: New Perspectives in Special Collections Curatorship, slated for publication by the Society of American Archivists in 2025.