Museum & FCHS Staff

Deborah Barker
Executive Director, Franklin County Historical Society

Deborah Barker joined the Franklin County Historical Society in 1990. She holds a B.A. in anthropology and American studies from the University of Colorado and a Masters in art history (with honors) from the University of Kansas. She has also completed post-graduate work toward a doctorate in art history.

Deborah designed exhibits at the Spencer Museum of Art as a graduate student and taught art history at KU, Ottawa University, and Missouri Western in St. Joseph, Mo. She has also taught history courses at Neosho County Community College.

Since coming to Franklin County, she has been involved with several organizations that serve the local community and preserve local and state history. She was the administrator of the Ottawa Community Arts Council from 1984 to 1994, and has served on the boards for the Franklin County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Santa Fe Trail Council of Girl Scouts, the Kansas Historical Society, the Kansas Historical Foundation, and Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.

She has authored or contributed to numerous publications, including The Feast of Franklin County and Images of America: Ottawa. She has done extensive research on Ottawa architect George P. Washburn, Kansas pioneer Perry Fuller, the Ottawa Chautauqua, native and emigrant American Indian tribes who once called Franklin County home, and the Leslie Tinnon school desegregation case of the 1870s.

Susan Geiss
Archivist, Franklin County Records & Research Center

Susan Geiss has a Master’s degree in history and 30 years’ experience teaching social studies at the middle and high school levels.  She answers researchers’ questions and conducts research on local topics as well as assisting with collections work.

Diana Staresinic-Deane
Manager, Old Depot Museum

Diana Staresinic-Deane holds a B.A. in English from the University of Southern California. A Kansan-gone-Californian-gone-Kansan, she first discovered there was more to Kansas than Kansas City in 2000 and has been exploring and writing about the state and its history ever since. Diana is especially interested in cemeteries and “microhistories”–the history of a small town, a building, or even an interesting postcard. She’s the author of Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder and blogs at Diana Staresinic-Deane: Unearthing Stories on the Prairie. She is an active member of the national mystery/crime writing organization Sisters in Crime. She is a former FCHS board member.

Diana serves as the museum manager, which includes working with museum volunteers and managing the museum store. She also coordinates many of the historical society’s events and the historical society’s online outreach, including social media and e-newsletters.

Ashley Brannan
Museum Assistant & Archival Assistant, Franklin County Records & Research Center

Ashley Brannan has been involved in scanning and cataloging the 7,000 images in the J.B. Muecke Collection recently donated to us by E. Morgan Williams, as well being responsible for the inventory software used in the museum store.  Ashley received her college education from Emporia State University.


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