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Staffing changes at T.R.R. Cobb House museum

The Watson-Brown Foundation announced Monday two staff changes at the T.R.R. Cobb House. Sam Thomas, longtime Curator of the historic house museum,will step into a parttime position on February 12. After fifteen years in museum work in South Carolina, Thomas arrived in Athens in 2006 as fulltime Curator of the Cobb House.

Sam Thomas

In that time Thomas completed its restoration, built its collections and exhibits, and extended and created a bevy of educational and interpretive initiatives. “Sam has been an inspiration,” said Tad Brown, President of the Foundation. “His herculean efforts are evidenced in every nook of the Cobb House. We are delighted Sam will remain with us in parttime capacity to continue his research and writing and to guide us through this leadership transition.”  

With Thomas’s semi-retirement, Ashleigh Oatts has been promoted to Curator. In this new capacity, Oatts will be responsible for museum interpretation, overseeing its future conservation, and organizing special events. She will continue to oversee the Athens chapter of the Watson-Brown Foundation Junior Board, a youth philanthropy program dedicated to historic preservation in the Athens area.

Ashleigh Oatts

Since arriving at the Cobb House in 2015, Oatts has served as its Education Coordinator. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, and her Masters of Arts in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Oatts is a past Board member of the Athens Historical Society and currently sits on the Georgia Association of Museums and the Maryville College Alumni Association boards. She has been invited to take part in the Southeastern Museums Conference Leadership Institute this April in Louisville, Kentucky. “Ashleigh has been responsible for creative expansion of our educational programming at the Cobb House, said Brown. “She is a bright, learned professional who fights above her weight class. We expect great things from her.”    

T.R.R. Cobb House, 175 Hill Street


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