The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America Announces the Departure of its National Headquarters-Dumbarton House Executive Director, Karen L. Daly

After over 12 years as Executive Director, Daly will leave her post at the end of 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – (October 21, 2020) – The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America [NSCDA] Board of Directors announced today that Karen L. Daly will leave her role as Executive Director in late December. Daly first joined the NSCDA in 2003 and became Executive Director in 2008. In her new role, Daly will be the first woman to lead Stratford Hall, the 1738 plantation home of the Lee Family of Virginia.

“Karen has led Dumbarton House through a critical period of organizational growth,” said Jane Boylin, NSCDA Vice President and Dumbarton House Board Chair. “It is with great gratitude, and enormous regret, that we share the news of her departure. We are committed to finding another passionate leader who will build upon this foundation to further advance our mission of preservation, patriotic service and history education. We are very grateful for Karen’s contributions to Dumbarton House and the NSCDA, and to the community overall, and we wish her success in her new role.”

The NSCDA will conduct a national search for a new Executive Director and will ensure a smooth transition and continued success for the NSCDA and Dumbarton House.

“My years with the NSCDA at Dumbarton House have been tremendously rewarding. I am extremely proud of the work we have done engaging with our local Georgetown community, advancing the preservation efforts of this two-hundred-year-old historic home, and connecting our NSCDA affiliated museums nationally through our Great American Treasures alliance,” said Daly. “I know our talented staff team and board leadership will build on these efforts to achieve great success in the years ahead.”

During her tenure, Dumbarton House expanded museum tours and programming, while undertaking numerous preservation projects including the creation of a state-of-the-art Collections Storage and Archives center, restoration of windows and doors site-wide, and installation of a new HVAC system. The Dumbarton House Fund for the Future endowment exceeded its $2 million goal and the development program grew immensely, realizing more than $500,000 in grant awards this year alone. As Executive Director, she oversaw staff expansion and led organizational strategic planning, launching NSCDA Great American Treasures museum alliance this summer to introduce the organization’s preservation and history education mission to audiences across the country.

Daly has also had an impact on the small museum and local communities, having served on the boards of the Museum Education Roundtable, Small Museum Association, and Georgetown Business Association. She currently serves as the Vice President for Membership Engagement for the Virginia Association of Museums.


About the NSCDA: The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America is one of the oldest historic preservation organizations in America. Founded in 1891 as a women’s lineage organization, the NSCDA now has over 15,000 members in 43 states and the District of Columbia, and owns, operates, or supports over 90 historic properties and sites throughout the United States. Headquartered at Dumbarton House, our mission is to promote respect for the people, places, and events that led to the formation of our country through historic preservation, patriotic service, and history education programs.

Media Contact(s): Kelly Paras // // 202-337-2288

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