The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has a new executive director – Christina Shutt.
The Springfield museum and library’s board of trustees announced Friday the selection of its first Black leader. Shutt, 34, comes from Arkansas, where she served as executive director of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock. She holds master’s degrees in both history and library science.
Shutt’s appointment must be approved by the Illinois Senate. She’s the fifth director of the Lincoln museum, which opened in 2005, and is scheduled to begin the job in June.
“You can’t truly understand America without understanding Abraham Lincoln’s impact on the nation,” Shutt said in a news release. “I’m excited to help share Lincoln’s enduring legacy and his relevancy for today.”
The release also said Shutt guided the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center through the complex process of earning national accreditation, making it only the ninth Black culture museum in the United States to earn such a designation.
She previously served as Associate Librarian for Special Collections and Instruction at Hendrix College and has worked in a variety of special collections, including the Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard University.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the hiring of Shutt followed a nationwide search.
"Illinois is elated to welcome Christina Shutt and her family to Springfield,” Pritzker said. ”A barrier-breaker in her own right, Christina comes to the ALPLM with formidable experience in lifting up historically marginalized voices and ensuring they are heard and understood in the greater American narrative – and in turn, the American present. Abraham Lincoln’s legacy is not only a critical piece of comprehending our nation’s past; but also in understanding how to navigate our future. I have every faith in Christina as the best person to guide ALPLM forward and help make the life and legacy of Lincoln more accessible to all Illinoisans. We are proud that she has chosen to call Illinois home.”
Former Congressman Ray LaHood, who chairs the ALPLM’s board, praised Shutt’s selection.
“Christina Shutt brings tremendous expertise to the job, as well as new perspectives on how to interpret the life, legacy and lessons of Abraham Lincoln,” LaHood said.