Dr. Monroe Harris, Acting Executive Director
Monroe E. Harris, Jr., D.M.D. was born and raised in Louisville, KY. He graduated from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry at the top of his class with numerous awards and recognitions including Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Award and the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honorary Dental Society. Aside from oral and maxillofacial surgery, Dr. Harris is passionate about sports, music, education and the arts. He has a vast collection of African and African American art which can be seen around his office. In addition to his role as chairman of the board at the Black History Museum, he was elected president of the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on July 1, 2018. He is the first African American to hold this position in the 82 year history of the institution.
Mary C. Lauderdale, Operations & Visitor Services Manager
Mary Lauderdale moved to Richmond, VA from Philadelphia, PA in 1995. She first learned about the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia after viewing a spot on the 12 o’clock news – the museum was looking for new volunteers – and she was hooked! Two years later, she was offered a temporary position, and now it has been an 21-year labor of love. Mary has served as front line staff – chief docent, visitor and volunteer services, gift shop manager and operations manager. Mary is a founding member of Sisters of the Yam, an African American Quilters’ Guild, which has been meeting at the museum since the guild’s formation in 2001. Mary says that Virginia’s Black History is America’s history, and has opened up a wider view of history and culture to learn and interpret. She loves interacting with patrons. We have visitors come from all the continents. Leading interpretive tours with interactive exhibitions – “high tech with high touch” serves to enhance the museum experience.
Faithe Norrell, Office Manager and History Services Associate
With a love of hospitality, a wealth of knowledge of Black history, and a teaching background, Faithe combines three of her passions to welcome guests to the museum and acclimate them to the exhibitions. As Front Desk Manager, she provides guests with an overview of the museum, answers their varied questions, and sets the tone for each visit. In addition, she supports the Executive Director and the Visitor Services Manager with various administrative and operational tasks, assists with gift shop sales, and supports membership communications. Growing up in segregated Richmond in the 50s and 60s, she uses her storytelling skills to make the information in the galleries relatable for each guest. Faithe is an artist of fine and wearable art and in her spare time produces one-of-a-kind pieces for her clients. She is the mother of two young adults she calls her “miracles”.
Heather Anderson, Community Engagement Coordinator
It’s greater than just hosting an event, it’s planning a memorable experience for all who attend that event! That’s exactly what Heather M. Anderson desires to do as the museum’s Community Engagement Coordinator. Over the years, Heather has always enjoyed coordinating logistics and drilling down to the details. She brings a “third eye” approach to the planning process and sees the unseen in order to help rental clients plan a successful event using a Z – A approach. In addition, she also brings a burst of energy and excitement to the experience. She absolutely loves people and it surely doesn’t go unnoticed. Her warm, inviting spirit brings a sense of calmness to the planning process, whether preparing to host an intimate group of 5 or an evening gala for 300 with multiple moving pieces and parts. She truly loves the excitement of it all! Contact Heather to book your next event experience at the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of VA!
Andrea Wright, Director of Communications and Development
Andrea’s background includes 20+ years of communications, community relations, and human resources. She keeps the communication train running at BHMVA including developing email blasts & media releases, coordinating social media, and serving as keeper of the brand. She also provides development and grant writing support. When she doesn’t have pen in hand for work, she enjoys writing poems, prose, and anything else that pops in her mind, just for fun. The beach is her happy place and she welcomes every opportunity to spend time there with family and friends. Unbeknownst to many, she is also a pretty darn good cook as well!