Christian Overland: Ruth and Hartley Barker Director

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society has appointed Christian W. Overland as its new Ruth and Hartley Barker Director. Most recently, Overland was Executive Vice President of The Henry Ford, an internationally-recognized history destination in Dearborn, Michigan.. Overland will replace Ellsworth Brown, who has led the Wisconsin Historical Society since 2004.

Since 1992, Overland held a variety of administrative roles at The Henry Ford. As Executive Vice President since 2010, he has been responsible for leading and managing strategic planning, historical research, the maintenance and growth of the institution’s collections and visitor experiences. He also has overseen education programs, experience design, museum operations and national positioning.

Prior to his positions in Michigan, Overland worked for the Minnesota Historical Society and was a volunteer gallery lecturer at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He earned his undergraduate degree in American Studies and Art History at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis and his master’s degree at the State University of New York College at Oneonta and New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, NY in American History and Museum Studies.

The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit