Foundation series

Virginia historian named new head of Germanna Memorial Foundation | Local News

After a nationwide search, Virginia historian Jennifer Hurst-Wender has been named executive director of the Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia.

A native of Virginia, Hurst-Wender has been a leader in public history and the museum field for two decades, the foundation said Wednesday in announcing her appointment. Most recently, she was Director of Museum Operations and Education for Preservation Virginia. There she managed five historic sites, including the John Marshall House, Scotchtown and Bacon’s Castle.

“Jennifer was selected based on her vision and experience in organizational leadership,” said Keith Hoffman, Chairman of the Board of the Germanna Foundation. “Her demonstrated skills in building teams, leading and developing people, strategic planning, achieving results and leading change in the field of history allow us to believe that Jennifer is the right person. ideal for this leadership position.”

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She will replace Tim Sutphin, who resigned on June 24 to pursue a business opportunity after 30 years in the museum business. He had held the position for 3.5 years.

Hurst-Wender expressed his excitement to join the Germanna Foundation team.

“I am honored to take on a leadership role at such an exceptional historic institution and am thrilled to work closely with our Trustees to envision the next era of Germanna while listening carefully to our staff and communities to bring the historic assets of the foundation in ever more dynamic alignment with our values,” she said in the statement from the non-profit group.

Hurst-Wender’s first day in Locust Grove, Va., at the foundation’s Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center on State Route 3 (Germanna Highway) will be October 3.

The Orange County-based foundation preserves a handful of nationally significant historic sites in Virginia’s northern Piedmont. To learn more, visit

Established in 1956, the foundation tells the intertwined stories of Germanna, an early 18th-century fortified settlement on the Virginia frontier, and its people. It conducts activities in archaeological exploration and conservation, genealogical research and publication, and historical preservation and interpretation.

Foundation sites and facilities include Brawdus Martin Fort Germanna Visitor Center, Hitt Archaeological Center, Siegen Forest, Germanna Memorial Garden, Fort Germanna and ‘Enchanted Castle’ archaeological sites , all at Locust Grove; circa 1757 Salubria at Stevensburg; and the Peter Hitt Farm and Cemetery, an early 19th century farmhouse of descendants of the Germanna Colony in Fauquier County.

The foundation has published 23 volumes in The Germanna Record series of genealogy and history books. It maintains a genealogical database of more than 130,000 descendants of Germanna settlers, who came from Germany to the western border of Virginia.

Questions? Call the Germanna Visitor Center at 540-423-1700.