OMA Board of Directors, October 2022. From left to right: Ariel Peasley, Janice Crane, Eleanor Sandys, Zachary Stocks, Peter Kukla, Katie Williams, Amanda Coven, Jennifer Fang. Not pictured: Natascha Adams, Heather Christenbury.
Peter Kukla, Board President
Peter Kukla is part of the Eugene Science Center team in Eugene, OR as their Community Engagement Director. He has over six years of experience in the museum field, having worked in education, guest services, volunteer management, and public programming. Peter is passionate about the museum field and creating equitable access to informal education. Peter is also currently serving on the Program Committee for the Western Museums Association. He has a BA in Physics from Occidental College with internship experience at organizations ranging from OMSI to NASA.
Ariel Peasley, Board Secretary
Ariel Peasley was born and raised in Oregon, but earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Montana, Missoula and her Master's degree in Anthropology and Museum Studies from California State University, Chico. She has worked in museums since 2013 and returned home to Oregon in 2017. She is currently a Museum Educator at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE). Ariel is passionate about public and community education and the important part that museums and other non-profit organizations do to provide this service to their communities. She hopes to continue to aid in this endeavor in her role on the OMA board and is excited about other opportunities to help serve fellow museum professionals across Oregon.
Amanda Coven, Board Member, Membership Chair
Amanda Coven is the Director of Education at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. She leads the museum in developing dynamic programs for diverse audiences across the state of Oregon, trains volunteers to engage visitors, students, and community groups in conversational and thought provoking programs, and facilitates professional development opportunities for educators. Amanda helped draft the content for Oregon’s Holocaust and Genocide bill (SB664), and since its unanimous passing, works closely with the State Department of Education to prepare educators for its implementation.
Eleanor Sandys, Board Member
Eleanor is an independent arts & culture professional with over 15 years of experience in nonprofit and arts administration. In her most recent role at the Oregon Arts Commission, Eleanor oversaw Oregon's Percent for Art in Public Places program, as well as managing grant programs for artists. Eleanor brings a breadth of experience to OMA in many areas relevant to museums, such as membership and development, grant writing, contract administration, volunteer management, event planning, collections management, exhibition coordination and project management. Over the course of her career, Eleanor has worked and interned at a variety of organizations, including Ecotrust, SCRAP, Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Portland Japanese Garden and the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Oregon, and FOR-SITE Foundation, Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Arts Commission in California. Eleanor has a Master’s in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University and a bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology from Reed College. She believes in the power of museums and the arts to present diverse experiences, generate critical conversations and encourage new perspectives.
Heather Christenbury, Board Member
Heather Christenbury is the Executive Director and Curator of the Coos History Museum. She received her B.A. from the University of Colorado in the field of Anthropology. Heather moved on to complete archeological field school while living and working throughout Europe and Africa. After working for the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, she returned to the U.S. and completed her M.A. in Museum Studies through the University of Oklahoma. Since that time, Heather has worked for a diverse range of museums and cultural institutions in the Denver area before most recently moving to Oregon. Heather specializes in inclusive interpretation collaborations with community partners and best practices related to collections management.
Lydia Heins, Board Member
Lydia Heins, appointed Executive Director of the Coos Art Museum in 2023, has more than a decade of experience across STEM and cultural museums. Her academic credentials include an BA in History from Linfield University and an MA in Museum Studies from the University College London. Lydia loves dedicating herself to improving the museum community through community engagement, cultural education, and economic prosperity. Transitioning from a STEAM collection back to her passion for arts and culture, she excels at sharing the diversity of artists and cultural events. As Executive Director, Lydia is committed to fostering relationships, promoting local arts, and recognizing the global impact of arts education within the coastal arts community.
Janice Crane, Board Treasurer
Mt Hood/The Gorge
Janice Crane is the Executive Director of the Friends of the Cascade Locks Historical Museum in the fabulous Columbia River Gorge. She entered the museum industry in 2010 and has served in primarily operations and education capacities. Janice’s Oregon museums career includes work at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals and the Washington County Museum (now Five Oaks Museum) in Hillsboro, and the Douglas County Museum of Natural & Cultural History in Roseburg. Originally from southwest Florida, Janice has an MA in Folklore Studies with an emphasis in Historic Preservation from Western Kentucky University and an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the University of Portland.
Katie Williams, Board Vice President, Programs Committee Co-chair
Katie Williams is the Senior Manager - Education & Programs at Pittock Mansion. Most recently, she served as the Education Manager at World of Speed Motorsports Museum in Wilsonville, OR. Prior to joining World of Speed, Katie was the Education Manager at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, where she also served as the Programs Officer for the Museum Educators of Puget Sound. Katie earned her MA in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University and her BA in Art History from Lewis & Clark College and has completed internships at the Wing Luke Asian Museum, Oakland Museum of California, and the Asian Art Museum.
Jennifer Fang, Board Member, DEAI Committee Chair
Jennifer Fang is the Director of Interpretation and Community Engagement at Pittock Mansion and an adjunct professor at the University of Portland where she teaches Modern U.S. History and Asian American History. With a passion for historical interpretation and fostering community-centered values in cultural institutions, Jennifer has held roles at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Portland Children’s Museum, and the Portland Chinatown Museum over the course of her museum career. Jennifer earned a PhD in US History from the University of Delaware and specializes in race and immigration during the Cold War. She currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Oregon Historical Quarterly and the Board of Directors of the Western Museums Association.
Natascha Adams, Board Member, Conference Committee Chair
Natascha is the Director of the Independence Heritage Museum, located in the historic hop capital of the world.
Natascha has spent most of her career working in non-profits. After interning with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and graduation with her MA in Museum Studies from the George Washington University, she spent close to two years as an archaeologist in Ireland. She returned to the states and was the director of OMSI’s Hancock Field Station and learned firsthand how instrumental hands-on learning is for kids and adults to truly grasp complex concept. Her time as Vice President of Youth Development at the YMCA left a lasting impression on her philosophies of inclusion and community engagement, while her time as a volunteer recruiter for the State of Oregon’s Long Term Care Ombudsman agency helped hone her skills in marketing and outreach.
Natascha rejoined the museum world in 2021 working only a few blocks from home in a community she loves. She is passionate about telling the stories that have gone untold, creating innovative programing, engaging the community, and making sure everyone feels welcome and safe to explore.
Stacy Nalley, Board Member
Stacy Nalley is the Public Outreach Coordinator at the Oregon State Capitol. She received her B.A. from San Francisco State University in journalism and minored in cultural anthropology. Stacy is passionate about communications in general and is fascinated by the impacts of social media on our society. She holds her Certified Interpretive Guide Training (CIGT, CIG and CIT) accreditation through the National Association of Interpretation and has helped regional cultural and heritage organizations by sharing the field of interpretation with them. Stacy believes that museums enrich lives and can provide accessibility to information through a more equitable lens. She and her husband enthusiastically explore museums from revered to obscure, and everything in between.
Val Van Alstyne, Board Member
Val Van Alstyne is the Community Engagement Manager at the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. Her previous museum experience began in 2013 in Colorado where she received her BA in Museum Studies and a minor in studio art. As a Colorado native, she interned for and was employed by several Denver art and history museums, mainly in collections and preparator positions. Since moving to Oregon, Val has previously served as General Director at the Frank Lloyd Wright Gordon House and continues volunteering in historic preservation for the Parks Department and at local arts events. She is an artist herself and enjoys being around creative people in the museum field.