Nelson Thomas holds a BA in biology with an art minor from Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH, and a MTSC (Masters in Technical and Scientific Communication) with an emphasis in environmental science from Miami University, Oxford, OH. She attended the 38th Seminar for Historical Administration (SHA) at Colonial Williamsburg, VA, and was the first recipient of the William T. Alderson Scholarship for the Seminar. She is in the 2016 Leadership Southeast Texas (LSET) class.
Nelson Thomas has twenty-five plus years of experience in informal education and the museum field. Prior to joining the Stark Foundation in May 2013, she was Senior Director, Public Programs at the Indiana Historical Society for fifteen years. Previously she worked at the Outagamie County Historical Society in Appleton, WI, and the Johnny Appleseed Metro Park District in Lima, OH. Her career has focused on interpretive planning; exhibition, program, and experience development; community collaboration and engagement; strategic planning; and evaluation. During her time in Indiana, she served on the SHA partners coordinating committee and as SHA faculty. She is the current AASLH (American Association for State and Local History) national Leadership in History Awards committee chair and a participant in the national Museum Directors Roundtable.
Nelson Thomas leads the operations and oversees the administrative, educational, curatorial, collections, exhibitions, and library & archive professional staff of the Stark Museum of Art, The W.H. Stark House, and the Stark Foundation Library & Archive in support of the mission of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.
“I come from a family of avid and curious life-long learners, readers, and explorers. My passion is connecting people with ideas, stuff, and experiences so they can go on and do the same.”
Harris’ academic training is outside the museum field. He began volunteering in museums at the age of fifteen. After an “AHA moment,” he made the career change to museums.
Harris has worked in numerous small history museums in the State of Indiana. Before coming to Orange, he was the Director of the Local History Services Department at the Indiana Historical Society. That department served as consultants to small museums throughout the State of Indiana. Harris is a past chair of the Field Services Alliance, an affinity group of the American Association of State and Local History, and a past president of the Indiana Association of Museums. He has been a speaker at a number of history, genealogy, archive, and museum conferences.
Harris loves that people can visit The W.H. Stark House and become engaged and excited about history, and how it might affect their lives today. His job is to make sure The W.H. Stark House experience connects with visitors. Harris wants visitors to leave thinking, imagining, and chatting about the house, the family, the servants, and the amazing things they used and collected.
“Pass the mashed potatoes!” [His favorite food]

Collections & Exhibitions


Whatley holds a BA in history and MA in teaching from Austin College, in Sherman, TX.
Whatley volunteered as a docent at The Dallas Holocaust Museum: Center for Education and Tolerance. He has experience teaching high school level students, U.S. and World History. In 2013, he worked at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas as a retail associate.
Learning is a central element to any museum. Presenting information in an accessible and educational manner means that anyone, six to ninety-nine, walks out learning something new.
“I am a huge film fan. I enjoy everything from classics like Citizen Kane and Casablanca to Japanese Samurai films like Zatoicki. In fact, my dog is named Bogie!”