LinkedInErica Donnis

Erica Donnis

Independent Historian and Museum Consultant

Burlington, Vermont Area
Museums and Institutions
  1. Museum Consulting Services
  1. University of Vermont,
  2. Reach Advisors,
  3. The Mount
  1. University of Delaware
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Museum Consulting Services

Museum Consulting Services


– Present

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Erica Donnis is an independent historian and museum consultant with fourteen years of experience in the field.

Selected Publications:
The History of Shelburne Farms: A Changing Landscape, An Evolving Vision (Shelburne Farms and Vermont Historical Society, 2010)

"Do Guided Tours and Technology Drive Visitors Away?" History News 65 (Spring 2010): 21-25 (co-author, with Scott Wands and Susan Wilkening).

"Authenticity? It Means Everything," History News 63 (Autumn 2008): 18-23 (co-author, with Susan Wilkening).

"Puzzling Together the Wallpaper Pieces," Old House Journal 34 (January/February 2006): 60-65.

Specialties:Curation and interpretation of historic sites and house museums
Historic furnishings plans
Interpretive and grant writing projects
Primary source research
Collections management and policy development
Arrangement of archival collections



Museum Consulting Services
– Present (15 years)

Erica has led and collaborated on curatorial, collections management, exhibitions, and publications projects for museums, historic sites, historical societies, archives, private clients, and companies working in the field, including:

Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Woodstock, Vermont
The Mount, Lenox, Massachusetts
Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont
Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, Vermont
Stratford Hall Plantation, Stratford, Virginia
Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury, Vermont
Vermont Museum & Gallery Alliance
7 town historical societies in Vermont

Manuscript Arranger

University of Vermont
(4 years 5 months)

Manuscript arrangement for the Special Collections Library at the University of Vermont.

Research Associate

Reach Advisors
(3 years 1 month)

Erica contributed to and blogged about audience research projects led by Susie Wilkening and James Chung at Reach Advisors, including surveys of outdoor history museum visitors; cultural consumers in the state of Connecticut; science museum visitors; and members of Generation Y.

Curator of Collections

The Mount
(4 years)Lenox, Massachusetts

Erica worked as full-time Curator of Collections from 2002 to 2004, and then full-time Consulting Curator of Collections from 2004 to 2006. A National Historic Landmark, The Mount was designed by American author Edith Wharton as a country residence.

Curator of Collections

Shelburne Farms
(3 years 10 months)Shelburne, Vermont

Shelburne Farms is a 1,400-acre National Historic Landmark and environmental education center.


Historic Furnishings Report, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

– Present

Erica is the contributing curator on a team of consultants preparing a detailed history of the interiors of three buildings on the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller estate property: the Mansion, Belvedere, and Bungalow.

Team members:

The History of Shelburne Farms(Link)

Published in 2010, this comprehensive history of Shelburne Farms, the Gilded Age country estate turned environmental education center, was the result of seven years of primary-source research and the winner of the 2011 Historic New England Book Prize. Team members also included Julie Eldridge Edwards, Shelburne Farms' Curator of Collections.

Team members:


  • Museums
  • History
  • Museum Collections
  • Grant Writing
  • Curating
  • Historic Preservation
  • Nonprofits
  • Research
  • Library
  • Archives
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Art
  • Museum Education
  • Art Exhibitions
  • Art History
  • Exhibit Design
  • Editing
  • Material Culture
  • Grants
  • Historical Research
  • Archival Research
  • Proofreading
  • Writing
  • Conservation Issues
  • Higher Education
  • Public Speaking
  • Interpretive Planning
  • Publications
  • Architectural History
  • Volunteer Management
  • Collections Management
  • Curatorial
  • Digitization
  • See 18+  See less


University of Delaware

MA, Winterthur Program in Early American Culture (now American Material Culture)

Master's Thesis: "The Conception of a Country Residence: Shelburne House, 1887-1900."

Goucher College

BA, American Literature, Art and Architecture

Undergraduate Thesis: "Shades of Color: Race and Hue in the Art and Literature of the Harlem Renaissance."

Activities and Societies: Dean's Scholar Phi Beta Kappa

Essex Junction High School

Honors & Awards

2011 Historic New England Book Prize, for The History of Shelburne Farms

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