Holmdel, NJ (December 11, 2017) — Sarah Taggart’s promotion to Executive Director for the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation (NJVVMF) was announced at the NJVVMF’s annual Gala. Since 2011, Taggart has held progressively senior leadership positions at the Foundation.
The Memorial, Museum and Education Complex has been drawing more and more visitors each year -- including more students and educators. Visitors are using the wealth of primary source material to connect aspects of culture, politics, economics and art from the Vietnam Era with our present world situation. “There are so many lessons we can learn from that (the Vietnam) War that could help us negotiate some of the dangerous situations we face today, and we just don’t know enough -- we haven’t learned those lessons,” says New Jersey native, and Vietnam veteran, Michael Heaney. Heaney’s story and perspective are featured in three of the ten episodes of the recently released documentary by Ken Burns and Lynne Novick, The Vietnam War.
The announcement of Taggart’s promotion drew a standing ovation from the more than 300 people in attendance at the Foundation’s Gala, including veterans, members of the NJVVMF Board and community members. Bill Linderman, the outgoing Executive Director, credited Taggart with a number of major accomplishments, including the renovation of the Sepia Mural, a centerpiece of the Museum & Educational Center. He also recognized her work to update the communications and volunteer programs, improve the integration of technology across the Foundation and for improving the grant and corporate giving programs. “We have so much to thank her for. We are lucky she’s agreed to take on this role.”
Taggart recognized Linderman’s contribution to the 22-year old organization and shared her excitement about the Foundation’s upcoming capital campaign. “Bill has done an outstanding job bringing the Foundation to a point in its growth where we are ready and able to take on the challenges of meeting the increasing demand for tours, exhibits and other education opportunities. He’s a Vietnam Veteran and his heart is here. Because of his work, we are ready to launch the Foundation’s capital campaign in 2018 and work on some very exciting enhancements to the site.”
Major campaign goals are to expand the exhibit space and provide a more immersive, engaging and updated experience to visitors. Additional public space will include rooms for educational programming and special exhibits for students and community members who use the collections to learn more about the Vietnam Era and the impact of the era’s politics, arts and culture both then, and now. The expansion will also expand the Foundation’s ability to collect and care for Vietnam Era artifacts.
The Foundation is already at work improving the Museum and education programs with the help of new staff. In 2016, the Foundation hired Museum Educator, Keri Giannotti, and Taggart’s first official hire as Executive Director was Greg Waters, new Museum Curator.
Taggart holds a MA in American History from Rutgers University, a MA in Museum Communications from The University of the Arts, and a BS in Archaeology from Mercyhurst University. She started her career at museums in the Philadelphia region including, Independence National Historical Park, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Camden County Historical Society. Always motivated by the desire to share her passion for museum collections with local communities, Taggart values professional development and is a member of various professional museum associations. She lives in Delanco, NJ, with her husband and daughter.
About New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, dedicated May 7, 1995, recognizes the sacrifices, courage and valor of the New Jersey Veterans of the Vietnam Era. The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center, dedicated in September 1998, strives to encourage and foster a thorough understanding of the Vietnam era, including the political, historical, social, cultural and military aspects that affected the United States, especially New Jersey. For more information, visit www.njvvmf.org.
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