Who am I?
I have worked in the non-profit field for nearly 40 years. I did my first paid work for museums in 1980, and held full-time staff positions in museums from 1986 through 1998. From 1998 through 2017, I consulted full-time for museums, foundations, and other non-profits. Though I have now retired from museum work, I continue to devote some of my time to a philanthropic initiative that funds water and environment projects in the Middle East.
I graduated from Amherst College in 1977, and later earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Rochester. After teaching history briefly at the SUNY College at Buffalo and at Vassar College, I chose to pursue a career in “public history.” The museum staff work that I did from 1986 to 1998 consisted of creating and implementing strategic and interpretive plans, developing interactive history exhibits, and leading exhibit teams.
I spent the final 20 years of my full-time work as an independent non-profit consultant. My interpretive work ranged over many topics, including bread and butter American history, environmental history, 20th-century popular and visual culture, innovation as a creative process, and the early history of aviation. I also managed a variety of museum projects in art and science museums, and played a leadership role in other non-profit initiatives.
My embrace of a wider array of consulting clients beginning around 2009 reflected my interest in using my deep experience to address more diverse working challenges. I remained (and remain) deeply committed to history as a vocation and as a way of thinking, but I refocused my energies towards a broader agenda during the final chapters of my active professional life.
This is me
Christopher S. Clarke
- Visiting Associate Professor of Practice, Syracuse University Graduate Program in Museum Studies, 2013-14
- From 1998 to 2018, twenty years as a full-time consultant to museums and non-profits
- More than 70 client organizations served as a consultant
- More than 55 invited appearances as speaker, commentator, or professional meeting session chair
- Historian and Senior Historian at Strong Museum in Rochester, 1990-1997
- Director, Ontario County Historical Society, 1986-1990
- Ph.D. in History, University of Rochester, 1986