A new site manager has been named for Indiana’s Lanier Mansion State Historic Site in downtown Madison to start work on Jan. 3, 2022 and replace Derek Peck, who died unexpectedly in June.

Sarah Prasil, executive marketing director for Visit Madison Inc., reported the news at Monday morning’s VMI meeting that Marnie Leist, a 15-year museum professional, has been hired as the new site manager in an announcement by Devin Payne, Southeast Regional Director for Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

“The enthusiasm that they speak about her is tremendous,” Prasil said. “She’s very well-rounded” with experience with museum, programming and retail. “We’re excited to have some leadership for that site.”

Leist’s most recent position was in Miami, Oklahoma, where she served as executive director of the Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center, developing multiple grant-funded projects to promote community voices, advance collections care, establish best practices and fund facility improvements.

Leist has spent the bulk of her career at the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak, Alaska, rising from registrar and repatriation coordinator to curator of collections to director of operations. At the Alutiiq Museum, Leist collaborated with government agencies, donors, educators, artists and community partners in her various roles to help the museum become the second accredited tribal museum by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and attain the first State of Alaska designation as a Natural and Cultural History Repository.

However, Leist is familiar with the Midwest and the Ohio River Valley. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; a Master of Arts in Art History and a Museum Studies Graduate Certificate from the University of Cincinnati; a Master of Arts in World War II Studies from Arizona State University in conjunction with the National World War II Museum, and has earned numerous professional certificates from AAM and American Association of State and Local History (AASLH), among others.

Leist, who is married and has a son, along with cats and a dog, recently finished restoration of an historic house in Oklahoma, and Payne said she will “no doubt find Madison’s historic district the perfect fit.”

Payne said Leist’s “family is excited to call Madison, Indiana, their new home.”