The West Chester University grad has taken over as president of the newly renamed center.
Frequenting the museums around Pennsylvania as a kid, Conor Hepp knew early on where his career was headed. Since then, he’s held positions at prestigious institutions throughout the region, including the Franklin Institute, Penn Museum and, most recently, the Barnes Foundation. This past August, the Marshallton resident and West Chester University grad took over as president of the newly renamed Chester County History Center.
MLT: When did your passion for history officially begin?
CH: One of the first museums I fell in love with was the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. There were so many artifacts, and there were so many stories there that drew my attention and my imagination. It was from that moment that I started looking at history as something I wanted to pursue.
MLT: What brought you to CCHC?
CH: There’s something about this area that just kind of draws me in— especially Chester County. There’s just a real beauty to the area and a real sense of community. It was really exciting to work with an organization I already was knowledgeable and passionate about. I love what the organization stands for. It’s not just the history of the area. It’s also deeply ingrained in their community engagement and how they want to serve the community. What better place to continue and hopefully spend my career with than the historical center?
MLT: What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
CH: Walking into the galleries and seeing the installations. It really is impressive what the team has accomplished.
MLT: What exhibits does CCHC have planned?
CH: I’m coming into the history center as we’re redoing all of the galleries. It’s going to be a totally new experience. It’s going to hit the Revolutionary War, the agricultural movement, the industrial movement. It’s really going to show how the history of this county plays a part in American history.
MLT: How is COVID-19 impacting your plans?
CH: Even a year ago, if you created a video and uploaded it to YouTube, if it wasn’t a $50,000 budget, people in the industry would look at you, like, “What are you doing?” Because everybody’s at home, some museums have created a digital audience they didn’t have before. How are we going to create programming that supports children and families at home? That’s what’s needed right now.