Ashley Howell, Executive Director, is a native Tennessean who joined the State Museum from the Frist Center for the Visual Arts where she most recently served as deputy director.
Howell received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a Master of Science in Communications from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and earned her M.B.A. degree in public and non-profit management from Boston University. Additionally, she has a Certificate of Museum Studies from Boston University. As a part of her graduate studies, Howell interned at the Museum of Modern Art (New York) in the visitor services department, and also served as a financial consultant to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
Howell, who began her career at the Knoxville Museum of Art in development, marketing and public relations, also worked in development for the University of Tennessee.
Sabrina Hooper has served as the Deputy Director since March 2020, where she assists the Executive Director in managing all aspects of the museum’s operations. She directly oversees a team that facilitates the Museum’s financial distributions, personnel, and administration processes. Before joining the State Museum, she served as the Deputy Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission for eight years. Hooper has more than eighteen years of public management experience and she received a Master of Public Administration from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.
She was an inaugural member of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Academy and is a member of the State’s Diversity Council and Employee Handbook Workgroup. She is also a member of the American Alliance of Museums.
Lauren Amos, Director of Operations, manages visitor services, events, the museum store, security and facilities. Ms. Amos was the Interim Deputy Director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, LA. She has served as the Manager of Operations at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and served as an operational consultant of the renovation of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC. Ms. Amos also possesses a BA in Political Science from Miami University in Ohio.
Tammi Edwards, Director of Special Projects, has oversight responsibilities for a number of projects including museum reaccreditation with the American Alliance of Museums, training and program evaluation, as well as reviewing and revising museum policies and procedures.Ms. Edwards, a Nashville native, has a B.S. degree in psychology from Tennessee State University and an M.A. degree in counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University. Most recently she was the grants manager at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Prior to that she held positions as the volunteer manager, and later, as the grants manager at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
Brad Kavan, Chief Registrar, oversees the Registration and Exhibits Department. The registration team is responsible for overall collection management, object security, maintaining records of acquisitions and loans, and transporting objects from storage to exhibitions and back in a safe manner. The exhibit team is responsible for overall exhibit design and the maintenance of exhibit spaces. Brad has been with the Tennessee State Museum since 2006. He briefly served in the Education Department before joining the Registration Department.
Brad holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Mississippi State University, an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Southern Mississippi, and an M.A. in U.S. History from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is also a graduate of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Academy. He currently serves on the executive board of the Tennessee Association of Museums, and is a member of the Inter-Museum Council of Nashville, the Southeastern Museums Conference, the Southeastern Registrars Association, the American Association of State and Local History, and the American Alliance of Museums.
Joe Pagetta has served as the Director of Communications since 2017, when he managed the Museum’s communications and marketing efforts leading up to its monumental move to its new location in 2018. He currently oversees a team that handles all the Museum’s print and digital marketing, advertising, public relations, and social media. Before joining the State Museum, his previous positions included Assistant Manager of Marketing at Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI); Media Relations Manager for the Nashville Film Festival and Director of Media Relations and Online Strategies for Nashville Public Television, and Director of NowPlayingNashville.com at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. He was named “Best PR Guy” in the 2009 Nashville Scene Best of Nashville Writers’ Poll.
Joe has served on the board of the Mid-South Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, been a panelist or presenter at the PBS General Managers and National Educational Telecommunications Association meetings, served on the Metro Nashville Arts Commission Poetry in Motion and Public Art Selection Committees, and been a presenter at the Tennessee Association of Museums Conference. He served on the Official Woman Suffrage Centennial Committee and is a 2020 graduate of L’Evate Leadership (Formerly Leadership Donelson-Hermitage). Born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, he received his B.A. in English from Saint Peter’s University.
Jeff Sellers, Director of Education & Community Engagement, oversees all the educational, interpretive, and community programs offered by the museum and state capitol. This includes K-12 education, family engagement, as well as programs for adult learners.
Jeff holds a B.A. in History from Auburn University, a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Montevallo, and a Master’s degree in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University. Before joining the museum’s education department in 2005, he served as a classroom history teacher and an interpretive ranger with the National Park Service. He has served on boards and committees of the Inter-museum Council of Nashville, the Nashville City Cemetery Association, and the National Council on Public History.
Richard White, Chief Curator, manages the curatorial team, directs artifact acquisition and interpretation, engages with the public, and generally assists in the management and conservation of the collection. Richard has more than eight years of experience with the Tennessee State Museum, beginning in the Education Department before advancing to the Collections Department.
Richard is a native of Nashville and attended Hillwood Comprehensive High School. He holds a B.A. in History from Belmont University and a master’s degree in History from Middle Tennessee State University. Richard serves on the executive board of the Nashville City Cemetery Association. He is a contributing author and series editor for Civil War Flags of Tennessee, a cooperative publication from the Tennessee State Museum and the University of Tennessee Press. He is a contributing writer and editor for the Tennessee Historical Quarterly and is a 2022 graduate of the Tennessee Government Professionals Institute.