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New Museum Curator Hails from Fredericksburg

The Manassas Museum System has a new curator for the new year.

The Manassas Museum System has a new curator for the new year.

Mary Helen Dellinger, of Fredericksburg, will be coming to Manassas after being named the new curator of the local museum, according to a press release issued by the museum. She will begin work on January 9. 

Dellinger is currently the senior vice president of Collections and Exhibitions at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. She was chosen toafter the museum conducted a national search, the release stated.

Dellinger will oversee the city’s historic resources, including the , Civil War-era and , the Manassas Industrial School/ , the Speiden Carper House, the Hopkins Candy Factory/Center for the Arts and the historic . She will also work with exhibits and collections and programs.

The Manassas Museum System is supported by the City of Manassas and a team of dedicated members and volunteers.

“We are excited and pleased to welcome Mary Helen to the Manassas Museum System and the City of Manassas,” said Liz Via-Gossman, the city’s Community Development Director. “Mary Helen is considered by her peers in the museum world to be one of the best curators around and we are thrilled to have her in Manassas.”

During a 22-year career in Fredericksburg, Dellinger created numerous exhibits,
including The Write Stuff, an exhibit detailing three Centuries of Fredericksburg on Paper, which won first place in a national exhibit competition sponsored by the American Association of Museums. She was also part of a team that renovated a historic bank building to create six new galleries holding both permanent and changing exhibitions for the museum.

Dellinger’s most recent accomplishments include installing Fredericksburg Remembers 9/11, an exhibit created in honor of the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Her popular “Breakfast with the Curator” program attracted many visitors for discussions about exhibits and selected subjects.

“The Manassas Museum is much like the one here in Fredericksburg, which focuses on local/regional history, and has a great collection in a vibrant community,” Dellinger said. “I have worked at developing an active exhibition program at Fredericksburg that is supported by a wide range of public programs. I will bring these experiences with me to Manassas, as well as the skills I’ve learned in working with the public, cultivating donors to the collection, and bringing the museum before the community through public programs.”

Dellinger earned a bachelor’s degree in American History from the University of
Mary Washington and began her career as an unpaid intern for the Fredericksburg Area Museum— an experience that she says led her to her life’s work with museums.

She accepted a permanent position there after graduating and later earned a master’s degree in History from George Mason University.

Dellinger is an active member of Fredericksburg’s Christ Lutheran Church, and the University of Mary Washington Alumni Association. She currently resides in Fredericksburg with her partner, Kenneth Haack and their dog, Maddie.


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