National Medal of Honor Heritage Center Announces Staff Additions; Prepares to Open on Feb. 22, 2020

Maranda Wilkinson

October 1, 2019


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HannahSher2 1CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Oct. 1, 2019)—In order to prepare to officially open its doors on Feb. 22, 2020, the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center is pleased to announce two staff additions—Hannah Sher as Director of Education and Steven Thomas as Director of Program Support.

In her role as Director of Education, Ms. Sher will handle the development and coordination of the Heritage Center’s Medal of Honor Character Development Program and Character Club. Through these two programs, the Heritage Center strives to educate our youth about six character traits that embody Medal of Honor recipients—Patriotism, Citizenship, Courage, Integrity, Sacrifice and Commitment. As a result, these future leaders learn how they can emulate these exemplary character attributes in their daily acts and become empowered to change their lives and the community around them.

In addition to community-based programs, Ms. Sher will be responsible for planning and coordinating the educational programs inside the Heritage Center, including the development of new programs designed to engage individuals and groups touring the new facility.

“Hannah Sher is a well-qualified educator whose classroom experience in New Orleans and Washington, D.C. equips her to grow our character education programs in schools and community centers across Hamilton County and surrounding communities as to create unique educational opportunities in our facility” said Keith Hardison, executive director for the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. “All involved with the heritage center look forward to working with her.

Ms. Sher earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Political Science from American University, where she also served as a research assistant. She served as a teaching assistant at Sidwell Friends School and student teacher at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C before working as a history teacher for the past five years in New Orleans charter schools. In the latter position, she developed and implemented a new network-wide history program and was nominated for the Glider Lehman Institute’s History Teacher of the Year award.

Steven3Also joining the Heritage Center staff is Steven Thomas, who will be responsible for providing program support to a variety of activities at the Heritage Center, including character education classes, special events, changing exhibits, volunteer coordination, and venue rentals.

Prior to accepting this position, Thomas worked as the lead interpreter for Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville and as a historical interpreter at Oaklands Mansion in Murfreesboro. Thomas is a graduate from Middle Tennessee State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, with a minor in War, Policy, and Society.

“We are delighted to add these two well-qualified history professionals to our staff at the Heritage Center,” said Hardison. “Each brings their own qualifications and skill set to our institution, and they both will play a vital role in our future efforts as we get ready to open our doors and create a place that will help connect people with an important part of our city’s heritage – the Medal of Honor.”

The National Medal of Honor Heritage Center is set to open on Feb. 22, 2020 and will be a place that honors the tradition, culture and values of the Medal of Honor. The 19,000-square-foot facility, located in downtown Chattanooga at Aquarium Plaza, will feature life-sized exhibits to tell the real-life stories of these ordinary people who demonstrated extraordinary heroics under the most difficult circumstances. Each exhibit was designed to immerse visitors in the stories of these America’s heroes by combining the sights and sounds of these Medal of Honor narratives with a vibrancy and immediacy of what happened on that day. As a result, the Heritage Center will create an emotional engagement and a more profound, memorable experience for our visitors.

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Maranda Wilkinson

Maranda Wilkinson is the Director of Education for the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center.