The Indiana Historical Society has appointed Jody Blankenship president and chief executive officer. He has held leadership positions at some of the country’s most distinguished state history societies. Blankenship most recently served as CEO of the Connecticut Historical Society.

The Indiana Historical Society, one of the largest and most prominent historical societies in the country, is a private, nonprofit organization. It maintains the premier collection of materials on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and reaches more than one million people every year through programming, visitation, outreach and services.

Under Blankenship’s leadership, the Connecticut Historical Society enhanced customer service, increased service hours, and improved and speeded up the cataloging process. During his tenure, the number of new, public exhibitions increased each year from three to nine, affinity groups for specific history specialties were created, and the availability of the collection of historical materials increased so that people in Connecticut have increased direct access to their history. Blankenship also led the successful adoption of the 25-year-old Connecticut Folklife Program, a partnership that represents the histories of all of Connecticut’s diverse population, and significantly increased the organization’s revenues, grew investments to $56 million, and substantially increased annual fundraising.

Previously, he served as education director at the Kentucky Historical Society, where under his leadership, KHS advanced its educational model and secured $1.2 million in grants to pilot model curricula, and revamp Kentucky’s cemetery preservation program. In addition, Blankenship launched “Explore Kentucky History,” the institution’s first mobile application which provides location and contextual data to the State’s historical marker program.

Prior to his appointment at KHS, Blankenship managed the Ohio Historical Society’s (now the Ohio History Connection) Outreach and Field Services Department. His outreach involvement included educational programs such as National History Day in Ohio, the Ohio Social Studies Resource Center, the Buckeye Council for History Education, the Ohio Historical Markers program and the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums.

Blankenship received an M.A. from Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York and a B.A. from Ohio Northern University. He will assume his responsibilities as IHS President and CEO on January 21.

Blankenship succeeds John Herbst, who has served IHS as president and CEO since 2006. Herbst will officially retire on December 31. 

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