Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs welcomes new director, Suzanne Savery

After 17 years leading the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Director Tim Slavin is passing the baton of leadership to longtime Deputy Director Suzanne Savery.

Slavin, who worked for the State of Delaware for nearly 30 years, will move on to a new role with the Fort DuPont Redevelopment & Preservation Corporation in Delaware City.

“Tim’s leadership and passion throughout these past 17 years have transformed the division into what it is today and strengthened how Delawareans connect with all aspects of history,” said Department of State Secretary Jeff Bullock. “He has served Delawareans well.”

Slavin said his proudest legacy is that he really didn’t change the Division much, but rather that he supported the outstanding ethics of the preservation-minded staff and helped them excel and grow their work to appeal to the next generation.

“Everything got bigger and better, so that our work became more meaningful to the average Delawarean,” he said. Now, he’s ready to leave that legacy to his respected colleague, Savery, who will be the first woman to serve as director of the Division.

“I admire the passion my colleagues bring to their work, as history continues to unfold for everyone,” Slavin said. “Collectively, we’re all done a great job getting ready for the next generation of important work ahead. Really and truly, it’s been an honor to work with people who are so dedicated.”

Savery, with over 35 years of experience in the museums and preservation field, assumed her new role on July 1, 2022.

“I am proud and excited to step into this new role leading the division and staff as we work together to preserve and share Delaware’s history,” said Savery, who has served as the deputy director of the Division since 2012. “I am also looking forward to working with staff and partners to explore opportunities to expand the stories of Delaware’s complicated history at our state museums and historic sites, in our collections, and documented through the work of the State Historic Preservation Office. From programs to capital projects, I am looking forward to HCA’s next chapter.”

Over the last decade, Savery has been involved in all aspects of the Division, from fiscal to capital and grounds to collections and museum programming. She is a native of Wilmington, Delaware, and holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Delaware and a master’s in museum studies from the University of Washington. Before joining the Division, Savery had held several positions at various institutions including the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia; the Petersburg Museum in Petersburg, Virginia; and the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She also is an alumna of the Museum Management Institute, a program run by the American Federation of Arts and the J. Paul Gerry Trust designed to enhance the leadership of experienced museum professionals.

Suzanne has what it takes. She has proven that over the past 10 years,” Slavin said. “She knows how to get things done, and I’m proud of her for what she’s accomplished so far.”

Savery said she’s looking forward to expanding the Division’s reach as she takes over as leader by sharing the good work of her staff across the state.

“There isn’t just one single story to share,” she said. “There are so many diverse stories, and just an awful lot that we need to keep sharing. I can’t wait to get started.”