Who We Are


This unique Museum reveals the natural world and cultural history of the West’s High Desert through artful exhibits, alluring animals, engaging programs and meaningful history.  

The High Desert Museum has been inspiring families since 1982 and is consistently rated as the top Central Oregon attraction by Trip Advisor. With 135 acres and more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, it’s a “must see” for anyone travelling through the area.

Get a close-up view of native wildlife, such as river otters, bobcat, porcupine and badger. Talk with historic characters who share tales of early Oregon explorers and settlers. Visit an authentic homestead and sawmill from 1904. Experience a close encounter with owls, falcons, hawks and even a vulture. Learn about Native American culture and history, and delight your children with one of many fun, hands-on programs that bring history and science to life.

The High Desert Museum is located just five minutes south of Bend, Oregon on Hwy 97, and includes a Museum store and café. Open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July.

Museum phone: 541-382-4754

Staff List:

Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D., Executive Director, ext. 326
Diana Fischetti, Executive Assistant and Communications Coordinator, ext. 225

Sandy Cummings, Director of Communications, ext. 166
Damian Fagan, Communications Manager, ext. 300
Steve Tosi, Graphic & Web Design, ext. 368

Heather Vihstadt, Director of Development, ext. 248
Bethany Lange, Development Associate of Corporate Relations, ext. 365
Jill Rutherford, Event Assistant, ext. 284
Rachael Greenwalt, Membership Coordinator, ext. 244
Michelle Seiler-Godfrey, Ph. D., Grant Writer, ext. 376
Tyson Baird, Facility Rental and Events Manager, ext. 284

Carmen Melamed, Director of Finance, ext. 384
Shannon Campbell, HR & Volunteer Coordinator, ext. 391
Cathy Lang, Cafe Manager, ext. 296
Julie Sturges, Store Manager, ext. 380
Nicole Swarts, Visitor Services Manager, ext. 273
Brian Hoover, Assistant Visitor Services Manager, ext. 271
Lindsay Frankfurt, Accounting and Payroll Manager, ext. 232
Ann Arbow, Receptionist/Accounts Payable, ext. 241

Christina Cid, Director of Programs, ext. 233
Linda Evans, Curator of Living History, ext. 242
Ethan Mark, Assistant Curator of Living History, ext. 363 
Jon Nelson, Curator of Wildlife, ext. 362
Jessica Stewart, Associate Curator of Wildlife: Manager of Herpetology and Ichthyology, ext. 288
Nickie Broesel, Associate Curator of Wildlife: Manager of the Donald M. Kerr Birds of Prey Center, ext. 310
Alysia Wolf, Assistant Curator of Wildlife: Manager of Mammalogy, ext. 310 
Laura McWhorter, Wildlife Associate, ext. 310
Lily Grbavach, Wildlife Associate, ext. 310
Louise Shirley, Donald M. Kerr Curator of Natural History, ext. 375 
Carolyn Nesbitt, Curator of Education, ext. 255
Erica Pelley, Associate Curator of Education, ext. 320
Marissa Ticus, Associate Curator of Education, ext. 329 
Elizabeth Sirhall, Education Assistant, ext. 329
Glynis Bawden, AmeriCorps Education Specialist, ext. 306
Laureta Huit, Manager of Exhibitions and Collections, ext. 392
Robert Flood, Exhibit Designer, ext. 382
Dustin Cockerham, Exhibits Preparator, ext. 385
Hovey Grosvenor, Exhibits Technician
Laura Ferguson, Ph.D., Curator of Western History, ext. 361
Patrick Johnson, Facility Manager, ext. 267
Curt Belshaw, Facility Staff, ext. 211
Daniel Wyllie, Facilities Technician, ext. 265
Thomas King, Facilities Technician, ext. 265

2017 Board of Trustees:

Board Chair:                Josh Newton 

Vice-Chair:                   Margi Heater

Treasurer:                    Don Paterson

Secretary:                    Tom Triplett

Goverance Chair:        Betsy McCool


Board Members:         Marilyn Beem

                             Ryan W. Bounds

                             Gretchen Brooks

                             Gail Hayes Davis

                             Julie Drinkward

                             Delia Feliciano

                             Jim Franzen

                             Peter J. Hall

                                       Ryan Hagemann

                             Sharon Hewitt

                             Cameron Kerr

                             KC Lockrem

                             Bret Matteis

                             Randy Miller

                             Kevin Palmer

                             Don Paterson

                             Greg Rasmussen

                             Lori Ray

                             Chip Reeves

                             Peter Richter

                             Steve Shropshire 

                             Susan Skalski

                             Rich Wininger                             


Life Trustees:             Mike P. Hollern      


High Desert Museum Privacy Statement: Your privacy is important to the High Desert Museum. We will never share, sell, or rent individual personal information without your advance permission. Personal information collected on this website will only be used for the purpose for which it was submitted, such as replying to inquiries and requests related to programs at the High Desert Museum.Donations and purchases: The High Desert Museum is happy to offer the use of PayPal to provide the option of online donations and membership purchases. PayPal keeps your bank and credit card details private from sellers and your financial information stays safe. Plus, you're protected 100% against unauthorized payments sent from your account. If your information changes or you have any questions regarding this policy or any personal information we may have on file, please contact us.