The board of directors of Conner Prairie announced today that after a national search for candidates, a new president and CEO has been chosen.

Norman O. Burns II of Richmond, Va., will succeed Ellen M. Rosenthal as president and CEO of Conner Prairie on Jan. 27. Rosenthal retired from the museum’s top position Jan. 4 after 12 years at the helm.

Norman Burns

Norman O. Burns II

Burns has more than 28 years of experience in various leadership capacities at historical institutions, most recently as executive director at Maymont, a 100-acre property in Richmond, Va., that includes historical buildings, gardens and animal experiences, drawing 500,000 visitors annually. In his role, he worked with a 45-member board of directors, led the executive staff and played a critical role in raising more than $21 million of a multi-year $35 million capital and endowment campaign. He currently serves on the AASLH Council as treasurer.

Prior to joining Maymont, Burns served as executive director of four Tennessee museums from 1987 to 2001, including Belle Meade Plantation, Chattanooga Regional History Museum, Rocky Mount Museum and Sam Davis Historical Site and Museum.

“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 and chairman of Ricker Oil Co.

Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie

“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 earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Spanning 850 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes more than 360,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.