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Steinke named director of Prairie Village Museum

By Staff | Dec 22, 2017

Submitted photo Stephanie Steinke (left), the new Prairie Village Museum executive director, works with volunteer Pat Bye.

Stephanie Steinke has been the collections manager at the Prairie Village Museum since April 2016.

But as of Friday, her duties at the museum have changed.

Steinke is the new director at the museum, replacing Cathy Jelsing-who has accepted the foundation coordinator position for the Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation.

“Cathy left some pretty big shoes [to fill], but I had the opportunity to work with her for two years,” said Steinke. “[I’m] hoping she’ll help me into the future and that we’ve had a good relationship in the past. [I’m] looking forward to it.”

Steinke’s previous position at the museum was a grant-funded one, and it involved working on transitioning the museum’s collection records from paper to digital as well supervising developments for storing collections. Steinke was retained in April of this year, and her duties also included creating the Queen Victoria dress exhibit, coordinating World War I anniversary programs and a future WWI exhibit.

Steinke said the director position is a job with “lots of moving parts”, and that one of the goals will be to keep working on creating a strong volunteer program as well as being more organized.

“With all these moving parts, the more organized you can be, the better, the easier it is because there’s so much to do,” said Steinke.

Steinke said the museum will look to continue several popular programs, including kids camps, the Rhubarb Festival, the Village Fair and the Old-Fashioned Holiday Dinner.

Steinke came to the museum with degrees in history and archeology, in addition to spending 10 years as a field archeologist-teaching students and working with artifacts and databases.

Steinke said her choice of a foreign language, which was a requirement for her college studies, helped pave the way for a future in history and archaeology.

“I chose Greek out of nowhere,” said Steinke. “I just thought, ‘That’s weird, let’s do that.’ But then it turned out my professor was amazing. She’s still around and still gives really good advice, and it just kind of sucks you in. Being able to read things in the original language is just kind of awesome.”

Steinke said from there it went on to going to Greece, and to volunteering and for and working on summer projects. Steinke spent her junior year of college at the International Center for Hellenic & Mediterranean Studies in Athens, Greece. While there, she took part in her first archeological dig. Steinke has also participated in other digs overseas, including Israel, Romania and Egypt. In 2014, she went to England and presented a paper titled, “Performing Violence in Late Antiquity: Urban Landscape, Ritual, and Power” at Oxford University.

The Prairie Village Museum has been in Rugby since 1965 and is owned and operated by the Geographical Center Historical Society.

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