Black History Museum - TashaTasha Chambers, Museum Director

If you were to ask Tasha Chambers to identify a defining moment in her career, chances are she’d have a hard time choosing just one. Indeed, the Richmond-based publicist has been working with worthy organizations, shaping their image and relationships with the public, for more than 10 years. Her professional journey has led her to work in entertainment, tourism and both the nonprofit and corporate sectors. And while her experiences are varied—across local, national and international arenas—a consistent theme is the incredible impact her work has had on communities.

In her previous role as senior public relations manager at ChildFund International, Tasha was responsible for executing the organization’s public relations and emergency communications strategies. At the height of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, she was also instrumental in increasing exposure around ChildFund’s response and post-recovery work. Her efforts resulted in an earned media placement for ChildFund International on the New York Times front page, which helped support the organization’s fundraising efforts for families affected by the epidemic. In the same capacity, Tasha developed highly successful PSA campaigns that were featured in the Wall Street Journal, GQ and Vanity Fair.

Consistently, through a combination of creativity, strategic thinking and relationship building, Tasha has contributed to the advancement of community organizations whose programs support the health and happiness of residents here in central Virginia as well. She has created outreach strategies for Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority and has coordinated communications initiatives at Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, she was responsible for managing media relations for the African American Trailblazers Awards, featuring the late Dr. Maya Angelou. The program was later recognized, celebrated and financially supported by the Library of Virginia.

Tasha has been a longstanding volunteer with the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia , leading workshops and training sessions to educate, engage and empower African American youth. And after years of volunteer work, she joined the Museum to assume the role of director in August 2015.

Tasha earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the John H. Johnson School of Communications at Howard University. She is a dedicated community servant and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Black History Museum - MlauderdaleMary C. Lauderdale, Operations Manager

Mary Lauderdale is a “new Virginian” who moved to Richmond, VA from Philadelphia, PA in 1995. She first learned about the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia after viewing a spot on the 12 o’clock news – the museum was looking for new volunteers – and she was hooked! Two years later, she was offered a temporary position, and now it has been an 18-year labor of love.

Mary’s museum experience started while still in college, spending two summer vacations working at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. She later worked full time at the museum for two years. She spent the next decade working as a project manager and specifications writer for contracted systems furniture for corporate offices. Throughout the years, Mary has served as front line staff – chief docent, visitor services, gift shop manager and overall museum manager.

Mary loves to say that “coming from Philadelphia, Richmond’s deep history was new to learn – and Black history in Richmond and Virginia has opened up a whole new world of history and culture to me.”

Mary’s best experiences here have come from the visitors. “We have many tourists from Germany, France and the United Kingdom, senior groups, church and school groups. I love interacting with our patrons.”

Mary is a founding member of Sisters of the Yam, an African American Quilters’ Guild, which has been meeting at the museum since beginning in 2001. The group has raised money for the museum through their quilting efforts.

Mary looks forward to the enhancement of the museum experience in the Armory location through the use of “high tech with high touch” – interactive exhibitions coupled with interpretive tours.