Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

Matt Davis Appointed Director of W&L’s Institutional History Museum Davis has served as director of historic museums at Georgia College & State University since 2018.

Matt-Davis-350x350 Matt Davis Appointed Director of W&L’s Institutional History MuseumMatt Davis

Matt Davis, director of historic museums at Georgia College & State University, will join Washington and Lee University as the director of the Institutional History Museum on July 29, 2024.

In this role, Davis will focus on articulating W&L’s 275-year history, its contributions to the region and the nation, the histories of the individuals for whom the university is named and others who shaped its progress and W&L’s many connections to American history, as well as contextualizing related historic sites, galleries, academic resources and creative spaces through dynamic educational curricula and exhibits.

“I am delighted to welcome Matt Davis as our director of the Institutional History Museum,” said Lena Hill, provost and professor of English. “Matt brings a national profile to W&L as a museum professional, preservationist and public historian. In addition to overseeing the construction and management of our new museum, Matt will join the academic affairs leadership team to mine educational opportunities our institutional history affords campus constituencies, alumni, our local community and visitors from across the nation. Matt’s directorship launches an exciting new phase of engaging W&L history.”

Davis earned a Bachelor of Science (2002) and a Master of Arts (2004) from Georgia College & State University and has spent most of his professional career serving the same school in a variety of roles. His work there began as an undergraduate student in 2000 when he served as a docent with The Old Governor’s Mansion, which is maintained by GCSU. He later served as a graduate assistant, assistant curator and curator of The Old Governor’s Mansion and was director of the mansion and the Sallie Ellis Davis House as well. Davis began serving as an adjunct professor of history and museum studies at GCSU in 2008 and has been director of historic museums since 2018.

Davis worked to incorporate Andalusia, the historic home of American author Flannery O’Connor, into the GCSU museums in 2018. This work included managing its reinterpretation and the accessioning of its collections and overseeing the site’s restoration. He also completed work on Andalusia’s designation as a National Historic Landmark and managed the construction of a $3.5 million interpretive center.

“I am honored to join W&L as director of the Institutional History Museum,” said Davis. “Working collaboratively with both internal and external stakeholders, I look forward to interpreting the rich history of this institution and uncovering new and diverse stories that tell the story of this academic community. I appreciate Provost Hill and the search committee for trusting me to make this new museum a reality. I look forward to becoming a part of the greater Lexington community.”

Davis’ extensive experience also includes 19 years as an adjunct professor of history at Georgia Military College and one year as the director of the Hay House, a property of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. His career has been celebrated through numerous awards, including earning the 2011 Museum Professional of the Year from the Georgia Association of Museums. He also received GCSU’s Outstanding Leadership Award in 2023.

W&L’s intention to construct an Institutional History Museum was first announced in 2018 as part of the university’s comprehensive Strategic Plan.