Executive Director brings new ideas to Rockwall County Museum


Katie Conrad, New Executive Director of the Rockwall County Museum, poses outside of the Manson – LaMoreaux – Hartman house at 901 E. Washington Street in Rockwall

ROCKWALL, TX (Sept. 20, 2022) The Rockwall County Historical Foundation welcomed Katie Conrad in June as their new Executive Director of the Rockwall County Museum. Conrad is the first to hold this position, since it is a new role initiated by the RCHF this past year. But according to Conrad, she is looking forward to the endless possibilities ahead.

“It’s kind of like an open canvas,” Conrad said. “I can be a curator, I can be an archivist, I can be an exhibit designer- I love being able to do all sorts of things in one day.”

Conrad brings ten years of museum experience to the new role. Though she has worked for museums both big and small, she prefers the flexibility and potential of the smaller ones.

“I like being able to take an exhibit from an idea, all the way to installation,” said Conrad.

Originally from Utah, Conrad received a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Utah State. During her studies, Conrad was part of a team that designed an exhibit from scratch for the on-campus Museum of Anthropology. After graduating, she accepted her first museum job in 2012, digitizing and preserving old photographs.

Conrad later decided to go for her Master’s in Museum Studies from Western Illinois University. She moved to Rockwall after her boyfriend received a promotion and was relocated here. Conrad spent six months teaching Kindergarten and volunteering at the British Flying Training School Museum in Terrell before landing her role at RCHF.

Small sculpture depicting the first discovery of the mysterious underground “Rock Wall” in 1852, by artist James Bryant

Conrad would like to create some semi-permanent exhibits in addition to adding ones that will change every six months. One semi-permanent exhibit Conrad would like to feature is the “Rock Wall,” a mysterious underground series of walls and the namesake of Rockwall County. The origin is unknown and up for dispute – some believe it is manmade, others believe it is natural.

In addition to plans to grow the museum and its exhibits, Conrad is also growing her staff. She added a new staff member, Holly Stevens, to serve as Programs Director. Stevens joins Marci Hall, Collections Assistant, who has been with the museum for several years.

Marci Hall, Collections Assistant (left) and Katie Conrad, Executive Director (right) pose with an authentic photograph depicting the Old Rockwall Courthouse and downtown square circa 1920’s.

“Holly and Marci and I have just been brainstorming like crazy,” said Conrad. “We have a lot of fun things planned.”

Authentic Friendship Quilt located inside the Bailey House at Harry Myers Park


Authentic Oliver Typewriter belonging to James W. Reese, also located inside the Bailey House

Among some of the exciting events to come are Photos with Santa in November and a candlelight cemetery tour in December, the first in a series dubbed “Restless Rockwall.” RCHF’s popular Monthly Lecture Series has programming planned from now until June 2023.

Lectures take place monthly at noon in the third floor courtroom of the old Rockwall Courthouse. All lectures are free and open to the public.

“I think everywhere should have a museum,” said Conrad. “If you don’t learn your history, how do you know how you got to where you are today? We’re built upon the past and that information needs to exist somewhere.”

RCHF will host a Meet & Greet with Conrad from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, November 5.

The Rockwall County Museum is located in Harry Myers Park at 901 E Washington St. Visits are always free and open to the public, Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Find membership options and donation opportunities at rockwallcountymuseum.com or call 972-722-1507. All donations benefit the preservation of Rockwall County’s historical buildings and collections.

By Amy Busch, Blue Ribbon News contributing writer/reporter. Courtesy photos. 

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