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Congressional Cemetery Welcomes New President

Historic Congressional Cemetery (HCC) has a new President.

After a national search, the board of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery announced Friday, Sept. 24 that they have selected Jaclyn “Jackie” Spainhour as the next HCC President.

The board said they were looking for a visionary leader with strong management and fundraising skills to lead HCC into the next phase of its growth. “In Jackie, we found all of those traits as well as a warmth and curiosity that will draw all of the cemetery’s constituencies further into our family,” the board wrote in a press release. Spainhour takes office Nov. 1.

Jackie comes to HCC from the Hunter House Victorian Museum in Norfolk, VA, where she spent the better part of a decade overseeing a staff of museum professionals and volunteer docents. As the Director of the Hunter House, Jackie transformed the organization from an unknown local gem to a facility well-known in Virginia and beyond for its forward-thinking programs, engaged millennial audience, and active and impactful social media presence. In addition to a significant increase in revenue, Jackie’s tenure at the Hunter House was marked by dramatic innovation and major steps forward in programming and outreach.

Paul K. Williams will step down from his role as President in October, after nearly a decade at the helm of Historic Congressional Cemetery. Williams has accepted a position as Superintendent of Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown and as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Oak Hill Foundation.

Spainhour said she was “humbled and thrilled to be joining the Congressional Cemetery family,” and to building upon the legacy Williams has left to include even more diverse audiences. “I look forward to learning more about the residents – and future residents- of ‘America’s Hippest Cemetery’,” she said.

“I accept this position with the utmost respect for the past as we journey into the future of Congressional Cemetery together.”

The national search for the HCC President was launched in June 2021. the field of candidates that was ultimately narrowed by the Search Committee to three finalists. The three finalists each spent a half day on the grounds of the cemetery, interviewing with HCC staff, members of the Search Committee, all remaining members of the Board of Directors, and with Christ Church Rector, Reverend John Kellogg.

Outgoing President Paul Williams will not be going far. “As he is fond of sharing,” the HCC board writes, “as a cemetery plot owner, he plans to be with us for all eternity.”

COVID restrictions prevented the Board from hosting our planned farewell event for Paul before his departure.  A celebration of Williams’s years of service will be held as soon as it is safe to host large gatherings, ideally in Spring 2022, with an announcement to follow once scheduled.

Learn more about Historic Congressional Cemetery (HCC), its programs, events and plots by visiting www.congressionalcemetery.org.

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