The Conner Prairie Board of Directors has selected Norman Burns as president and CEO following a national search. Burns succeeds Ellen Rosenthal, who has retired.
Burns will begin in his new role on January 27. He comes to Conner Prairie after most recently serving as executive director at Maymont, a 100-acre property in Richmond, Virginia that includes historical buildings, gardens and animal experiences. The location draws 500,000 visitors each year.
"At the onset of our search, we established several critical priorities that the next president and CEO must meet and we unanimously believe that Norman Burns exceeds those criteria," said Jay Ricker, chairman of Conner Prairie’s board of directors. "He considers himself first and foremost a historian and educator and has observed Conner Prairie for years. We look forward to his leadership, expertise and creativity to help guide Conner Prairie’s future."
Burns has nearly 30 years of experience at various historical institutions. He has also served as executive director of four Tennessee museums from 1987-2001.
Rosenthal left Conner Prairie after serving as president and CEO for 12 years. She joined the interactive history park in 1999 as vice president of internal affairs. During her tenure, visitation grew by more than 260 percent.
Conner Prairie also earned Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliation during Rosenthal’s tenure.