By David J. Kent
Monday, September 20, 2021
President Lincoln's Cottage has hired a new CEO and Executive Director! Michael Atwood Mason began his tenure at what we in the Lincoln Group affectionately call "The Cottage" on September 13, 2021. The Lincoln Group wholeheartedly welcomes Michael to his new role.
Mason most recently served as the Director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, where among many other duties he led the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the archives, and educational and cultural programs. He previously worked twenty years at the National Museum of Natural History, ending as Director of Exhibitions. Mason has a PhD in Folklore from Indiana University in Bloomington.
The Lincoln Group has had a long association with the Cottage, working with Erin Mast for ten years there before she became CEO and President of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Springfield, Illinois. We have also enjoyed working with Callie Hawkins, the Cottage's Director of Programming. I had the honor of moderating a "Teaching Lincoln" program for the Cosmos Club in January of this year (courtesy of long-time Lincoln Group member Rod Ross), in which Callie and representatives from Ford's Theatre and the Library of Congress served as astute panelists.
According to the Cottage's press release: “We are thrilled to have Michael join us during this time of change and challenge and we are confident that with his strategic leadership the Cottage will move forward to a new era of growth and impact,” said Rick Murphy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of President Lincoln’s Cottage.
Mason is looking forward to taking over the reins. Again from the press release: “President Lincoln’s Cottage is the rare museum that inspires and facilitates meaningful social change. What’s more, it has long been an example of a cultural institution that uses the power of place, detailed inquiry, and dynamic storytelling to educate and inform. At this moment of deep questioning about the future and meaning of our democracy, I’m excited to join President Lincoln’s Cottage to showcase the many insights Lincoln’s legacy can bring to today’s challenges. It is my pleasure to join this creative, award-winning team as we raise the profile and prominence of the Cottage,” said Dr. Mason.
As Lincoln Group president, I have reached out to welcome Michael Atwood Mason to the Cottage. As a group we look forward to further strengthening our long relationship with the institution, and will be discussing ways to further collaborate as Michael settles into his new role.
More information can be found on the President Lincoln's Cottage website.