The Edward Porter Alexander Fund

Edward Porter Alexander

Museum Studies in MotionDr. Edward Porter Alexander (January 11, 1907 – July 31, 2003) was an American historian, museum administrator, educator and author. He served for nearly 30 years as vice-president for interpretation at Colonial Williamsburg (1946–1972) and founded the Museum Studies program at the University of Delaware, which he directed for its first six years.

Dr. Alexander was born in Keokuk, Iowa, where he went to public schools. He graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, and earned a master’s degree in history at the University of Iowa. He earned a doctorate in history at Columbia University. Alexander worked mostly in museums and historical centers. He served as director of the New York State Historical Association at Ticonderoga and Cooperstown from 1934 to 1941. From there he went to Wisconsin, where he served as the director of the Historical Society of Wisconsin from 1941 to 1946. For nearly 30 years, he directed activities as the vice president for interpretation at Colonial Williamsburg, from 1946 to 1972. These were decades of major expansion and change, including the beginning of incorporation of more historical material about the common people, slaves and women.

Following this, he founded the Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware, which he directed from 1972 until his retirement in 1978. Deeply engaged in museum operations, he was elected president of both the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History.

Following Edward Alexander’s death in 2003, members of his family decided to commemorate his contributions to the museum field, and his love of the University of Delaware, with the creation of the Edward P. Alexander Endowment.

This legacy continues to assist Museum Studies students into the 21st century, assuring that every student who applies and is accepted into an internship experience has the funding necessary to do so.  You, too, may contribute to the Alexander Fund, and make an immediate impact on a student’s life and career path!

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