Ms. Erin Carlson Mast announced that she will be stepping down as CEO and Executive Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage effective January 8, 2021, to take the helm as President and CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Illinois. The announcement follows Mast’s exemplary leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and her entire tenure at the organization. As CEO, Mast built and led the organization through a decade of strategic innovation, steady growth, national recognition, and transition to an independent, 501c3 public charity. Her impact on the Cottage stretches back to her role as a key member of the National Monument’s capital restoration project and grand opening team, prior to being named the Executive Director in 2010.
“Erin’s determination, creativity and integrity have been key to the growth and development of the Cottage over the course of the last 10 years,” said Rick Murphy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of President Lincoln’s Cottage.
Under her leadership as CEO & Executive Director, President Lincoln’s Cottage received over two dozen awards and recognition for excellence including a Presidential Medal, “50 Great Places to Work” in Washington DC, and “Best Museum off the Mall” four years in a row. The site has been declared a must-see or top destination by the likes of Time magazine and USA Today. In 2017, Mast received the EXCEL Award for Chief Executive Leadership from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. Mast represented the organization with distinction on Boards and at national conferences and major higher education and cultural institutions every year. She also found the time to author brief biographies of Abraham and Mary Lincoln and articles for a variety of professional publications such as Alliance Labs, History News, Forum Journal, and The Public Historian. She has also contributed chapters to books including Mission Matters (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), AASLH Guide to Making Public History (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017), The Lincolns (Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, 2015) and Museums of Ideas: Commitment and Conflict (MuseumsEtc, 2011).
“It has been an honor and a privilege to build President Lincoln’s Cottage with this team and this Board. We have provided hundreds of thousands of people with a transformative experience during a tumultuous period in our nation’s history. I leave knowing we are a strong, purpose-driven organization through and through, with great relationships with our community and partners. The National Monument is well positioned to achieve great success in the future.”
Mast was the third overall and first woman Executive Director of the Cottage as well as the first chief executive officer of the independent 501©3 that officially took responsibility for governance and operations of the National Monument in 2016.
Murphy added, “The members of the Board appreciate Erin’s dedication to the Cottage and her unparalleled leadership over the years. We will miss her terribly, but we wholeheartedly wish her well in her new position, and in all her future endeavors.”
The Board of Directors will begin a national search for her successor in 2021. Ms. Callie Hawkins, Director of Programming and a long-time senior staff member will serve as Interim Director.