Adele Johnson, Executive Director
Adele Johnson has worked in the nonprofit world most of her career and loves being part of transformation teams that heighten an organization’s impact in the community. After 18 months as the interim, Adele accepted the permanent position as executive director of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia in 2019. This proves that things happen when they are supposed to – Adele says she has wanted to work at the Black History Museum for 20 years, but the time was never right, until now. Prior to joining BHMVA, she held leadership positions with Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, Capital One, and the Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council. Every day, Adele is humbled by the responsibility to share the stories of our ancestors and excited about the opportunity to encourage future history makers. In addition to creating new adventures with her five grandchildren, Adele loves water. You’ll find her swimming, kayaking, or enjoying a leisurely walk on a rainy summer day.
Mary C. Lauderdale, 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.
Pearl Wise Crawley, Director of Advancement
Pearl brings years of experience and enthusiasm to the Black History Museum & Cultural Center after working with one of the premier nonprofit performing arts centers in the U.S., New Jersey Performing Arts Center and five years at Richmond’s own Richmond Ballet. Pearl is excited about sharing her knowledge, work ethic, and commitment to BHMVA. In this rapidly changing world, the Black History Museum is fostering respect and admiration for the diversity that makes Richmond, the Commonwealth of Virginia and indeed our country great. Pearl looks forward to using her passion and tenacity to cultivate new friends, secure sponsorships, and advance the BHMVA mission “to preserve stories that inspire.” It is an honor to build on the foundation of this institution and Pearl would like her work to help shape and sustain the museum.
Victoria Jackson, Front Desk Manager
The warm greeting guests receive from Victoria Jackson provides a welcoming environment at the museum. 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 giftshop sales, and supports membership communications. Victoria has a background in customer service, management and healthcare. Being at the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia gives her the opportunity to learn more about Richmond and the lives of those who live there as well as others who come to the museum from all over the world. She truly believes that BHMVA is a vital institution that connects and inspires the community around it. Victoria enjoys reading, playing video games and walking the many trails in Richmond with her boyfriend and their dog, Carl.
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, Communications Manager
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!
Shania Collins, Summer Intern
Shania spends her summers at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. She loves interning at BHMVA because she is constantly learning something new. She admits that history wasn’t her favorite subject in school, but being at BHMVA has influenced her to engage in history that contributes to African American culture and she finds that to be pretty cool. She loves being part of the staff because “everyone including security is amazing and sincerely sweet.” She believes that BHMVA truly connects the Richmond community through an abundance of memories, historical facts, and unique souvenirs. When she’s not at the museum, Shania loves being home enjoying her own company watching YouTube or Netflix.