Hill College’s Texas Heritage Museum Dean named president of national museums association
HILLSBORO, TEXAS---John Versluis, dean of the Hill College Texas Heritage Museum, was elected to serve as the national president of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG) at the annual conference held in June at the University of Oregon. Versluis was the sole nominee by the AAMG nominating committee.
Versluis is the first history museum director (non-art museum director) to become president of AAMG, which is a voluntary position with a three-year term that can be renewed once for a total of six years. “I look forward to promoting the Hill College Texas Heritage Museum as the president of AAMG,” Versluis said. “I am excited to lead the AAMG leadership to embark on an exciting new chapter to help guide many college and university museums and galleries showcasing all types of art works and artifacts from all different cultures, while embracing the best museum practices and standards,” said Versluis.
He was previously the AAMG mountain plains regional representative on the AAMG Board, which oversaw this regional territory spanning over 10 states – from Texas to North Dakota – which has approximately 200 academically-based museums. Each state in the country has an AAMG state representative that reports to one of six region representatives.
AAMG has over 3,500 total members, including 450 institutional members, throughout U.S. The association was founded in 1980 to promote and support academic museums and to help its constituent members achieve their educational missions. Today AAMG serves as an advocate for all types of academic museums.
Versluis has served as the dean and has spearheaded the Texas Heritage Museum in Hillsboro since 2005. He oversees three separate divisions of the museum: Galleries and Collections, the Historical Research Center and the Hill College Press. The Texas Heritage Museum is the official Texas State Medal of Honor Memorial to Native-born Texans. Additionally, he serves as an American Alliance of Museums MAP peer reviewer, and is a consultant for the Bridge Street History Center in Granbury.
Versluis served as the director of the Greater Southwest Historical Museum, in Ardmore, Okla., from 2003-2005, and the director of the North Platte Valley Museum (currently known as Legacy of the Plains Museum) in Gering, Neb., from 2000-2003. He received his museum training at New Mexico State University (NMSU) where he earned a master of arts degree in American history/public history graduate program in 2000. While there, he was the recipient of the Doña Ana Historical Society Pasajero Del Camino Real award for co-authoring Historic Architectural Styles Las Cruces, N.M.: Celebrating 150 Years.
Also while at NMSU, Versluis served as a co-principal investigator for the Lunar Legacy Project, which is one of the earliest federally grant-funded space archaeological research projects, through the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium in 1999. NASA funded the Lunar Legacy Project to document the artifacts on the lunar surface at Tranquility Base by the Apollo 11 crew, and to investigate the relevant U.S. federal preservation laws and regulations.
Versluis earned a bachelor of arts degree in history with honors at Western State College of Colorado (currently known as Western State Colorado University) in Gunnison, Colo., in December 1997. During his undergraduate studies he made new scholarly discoveries providing further insights into the U.S. intervention into Russia 1918-1920, and continues his research through exhibits and presentations.
For more information about the Texas Heritage Museum, visit the museum website at http://www.hillcollege.edu/museum/join-and-give.html or the museum facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/texasheritagemuseum/.
For more information about the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG), visit the association’s website at http://www.aamg-us.org/wp/.
John Versluis, dean of Hill College Texas Heritage Museum, pictured near a special painting in the museum by Mauricio Garduno Lomeli of a few of Shannon’s Scouts, Company C, 8th Texas Cavalry, a group that was part of Terry’s Texas Rangers who fought at the Battle of Monroe’s Cross Roads during the Civil War.