Isabel Kasdin, the curator of collections and exhibitions at the Historical Society of Princeton, has been named the new executive director of the nonprofit
Kasdin, who grew up in Princeton, received her bachelor’s degree in history at Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and earning the Laurence Hutton Prize in History. She also earned the Moses Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest award conferred on an undergraduate student at Princeton University. The award recognizes exceptional academic performance, extracurricular leadership, and strength of character.
After graduating from Princeton, she earned a master’s degree in archaeological heritage and museums from the University of Cambridge in England as a Gates Scholar.
Kasdin has worked with several historical organizations and museums, including the Ford’s Theater Society in Washington, D.C. and the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. She completed her archaeological field school training in colonial American material culture at the College of William and Mary in 2011.
“After reviewing a broad pool of talented candidates, we concluded that the person with the most compelling combination of experience, energy, and vision was already working inside the organization,” said Scott Sipprelle, president of the Historical Society of Princeton Board of Trustees. “Izzy is very much a known quantity here at the Historical society, having served the organization since 2007 in a variety of roles including docent, researcher, and exhibitions assistant.”
Kasdin has provided the insight of an historian and the rigor of an academic to the review and formal inventory of the Historical Society of Princeton’s important collections, said Daniel Scheid, vice president of collections. “In her new role, she will use her creativity to link these collections not only to the past but to the exciting history that is being made in Princeton today,” he said.
Kasdin said local history plays an important role in building community, promoting empathy, and enhancing a sense of place.
“It is an immense honor to lead the charge on these goals at the Historical Society of Princeton, in my own home town,” she said. “I am bursting with innovative ideas about how we can use our fantastic collections and beautiful farm site to develop diverse public programming that pushes the boundaries of the traditional local history museum model.”