The Wisconsin Historical Society has announced the appointment of Daniel J. Freas of Noblesville as director of Old World Wisconsin, the society’s flagship outdoor history museum in Waukesha County. Freas began his new position Jan. 23.
Freas recently served as vice president of guest experiences for Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, a position he has held since 2000, and has nearly 30 years of firsthand experience in outdoor museum education and administration. He served in a variety of other capacities at Conner Prairie since 1998.
Freas’ earlier experience includes historic sites administration and education positions at the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh, the North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources in Raleigh, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in Harrisburg and Old Salem Museums and Gardens in Winston-Salem, N.C. He holds a bachelor’s degree in outdoor museum studies from Salem College in West Virginia.
As site director at Old World Wisconsin, Freas will oversee a full-time professional staff of 15, and a large seasonal staff of interpreters and volunteers. The museum comprises more than 65 historic buildings relocated from around the state, and represents the material and cultural history of nearly a dozen ethnic groups on 10 farmsteads, a 1870s rural crossroads village and a Visitor Center complex.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel Freas to this key leadership position, directing the day-to-day operations of our largest and most well-attended historic site,” said Alicia Goehring, administrator of the Society’s Division of Museums and Historic Sites. “The caliber and content of Dan’s education and work experience make him an ideal fit for Old World Wisconsin.”
Nearly 59,000 people visited Old World Wisconsin in 2011.